WHO report: 'Opportunities for Africa's newborns'.

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A new report has shown improvements in child survival in Africa for the first time since the 1980s--but more than a million African babies still die in the first month of life

The World Health Organization report, published November 2006, 'Opportunities for Africa's newborns', confirms that sub-Saharan Africa remains the most dangerous region in the world for a baby to be born--with 1.16 million babies dying each year in the first 28 days of life--but six low-income African countries, Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Madagascar, Malawi, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania, have made significant progress in reducing deaths among newborn babies.

The report brings together new data and analysis from a team of 60 authors and nine international organizations from the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, (PMNCH).

Across the six countries, the reduction ranges from 20% in Tanzania and Malawi to 39% in Burkina Faso and 47% in Eritrea. Factors that contributed to this progress included:

* In Malawi, presidential-level commitment to maternal newborn and child health and increased investment by partners to address the lack of human resources

* Tanzania has recorded a 30% reduction in child mortality and a 20% fall in newborn deaths alter increased government spending on essential maternal and child healthcare.

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