Redefining Fatherhood: One New Dad’s Journey as a Preemie Parent

Maureen Simpson – PCI’s End Poverty Blog, June 12, 2019

When Martha was born, her mother Enipha says she was barely the size of her own slender forearm. The nurse on duty at Balaka District Hospital recorded her weight at just over 1.5 pounds. She arrived eight weeks early and was immediately placed on oxygen to regulate her breathing. The odds did not look good for her survival. To see Martha now — six months later, smiling up at her father with chubby cheeks and bright, dark brown eyes — is to witness a miracle in motion. Samalani, the proud bambo who carried his laboring wife to the hospital in the middle of the night, says he had faith in his baby girl all along…


It Takes a Village: Transforming Care for Preterm Babies

Maureen Simpson – PCI’s End Poverty Blog, May 15, 2019

A mural painted on an outside wall of the Balaka District Hospital in Malawi has the following message translated in Chichewa: “Everyone can take care of a preterm baby.” Pictured with the declaration are three family members — presumably a grandmother, husband and wife — and each are shown holding a small, tightly wrapped newborn to their chest, skin to skin. While the concrete display sounds simple, it’s a concept that has transformed the way this facility cares for preterm/low birth weight (LBW) babies. With support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), technical assistance from PCI’s Every Preemie-SCALE project (Every Preemie) and in partnership with the Malawi Ministry of Health, Balaka District Hospital and eight health centers have implemented the Family-Led Care model


Midwives Matter: A Lifeline for Vulnerable Mothers and Babies in Malawi

Maureen Simpson – PCI’s End Poverty Blog, May 5, 2019

Irene Kamanga’s career was born in a waiting room. Growing up in a rural area of Malawi, she saw how difficult it was to access care due to the lack of nearby health facilities and inadequate staffing. “It took long to get treatment even when you were at the health center, because there was only one nurse and one medical assistant,” Kamanga recalls. “Therefore, we would wait for treatment while the nurse midwife was attending to a woman in labor, conducting antenatal checkups.” To help fill this gap and deliver a higher and more immediate level of care for some of the most vulnerable people in her country, Kamanga became a midwife. For nearly 30 years, she has helped women in Malawi have healthy pregnancies and safe births…


Every Preemie Publishes Article on ACS Landscape Analysis in Global Health: Science and Practice

Global Health: Science and Practice – December 2018

In December 2018, Every Preemie published an article in Global Health: Science and Practice (GHSP) summarizing the policy and implementation landscape analysis of antenatal corticosteroid (ACS) use for women at risk of preterm birth in seven Sub-Saharan African countries. Findings of the study showed that countries have put in place some elements necessary for safe and effective use of ACS, but significant challenges remain including: ensuring accurate gestational age determination, establishing clear treatment guidelines, strengthening provider capacity, incorporating obstetric indications for ACS use in national essential medicines lists, and collecting and using ACS-related data in the HMIS. Most importantly, the quality of maternal and newborn care, including specialized newborn care, needs improvement to ensure a strong foundation for the safe and effective use of ACS.


Press Release: Nearly 30 million sick and premature newborns in dire need of treatment every year

UNICEF – December 13, 2018

Global coalition calls for better care and stronger legislation to save babies on the brink of death

Every Preemie is proud to partner with UNICEF, WHO and other organizations to release the Key Findings of the new global report, Survive and Thrive: Transforming care for every small and sick newborn. See the press release at the link above.


Every Preemie—SCALE Releases Technical Brief on Family Participation in the Care of the Inpatient Newborn

Chelsea Dunning – Every Preemie website, November 17, 2018

On World Prematurity Day, Every Preemie—SCALE joins the global community in highlighting the importance of “Working together: partnering with families in the care of small and sick newborns. Each year 1 in 10 babies around the world are born preterm, or before 37 weeks gestation, and many others have life-threatening conditions that require hospitalization. Evidence shows that families and health care professionals working together in the care of these small and sick newborns leads to better health and developmental outcomes, as well as better experience of care…


Midwives Leading the Way with Quality Care

Chelsea Dunning – Every Preemie website, May 5, 2018

Today, on the International Day of the Midwife, we acknowledge and applaud the valuable contributions of midwives around the world to support maternal and newborn health. This year’s theme is “Midwives leading the way with quality care”, and when 15 million babies around the world are born preterm – before 37 weeks of pregnancy are completed – midwives providing quality care are a powerful force in saving tiny lives…


Every Preemie Partners with University of Malawi College of Medicine and MaiKhanda Trust to Assess Innovative Family-Led Care Model

Chelsea Dunning – Every Preemie website, April 4, 2018

In Malawi, 120,000 babies are born preterm (less than 37 weeks of gestation) each year, and over 5,000 children under 5 die due to direct preterm complications. Malawi has the highest rate of preterm birth in the world. In addition to these babies who are born too soon, 14% of babies are born too small – less than 2,500 grams. Babies born too early or too small are at particular risk for death or life-altering complications due to the fragile nature of their tiny bodies. Fortunately, many of these babies can survive with basic warmth and feeding support…


Helping Newborns Survive and Thrive in Malawi

Maureen Simpson – PCI’s End Poverty Blog, February 1, 2018

When Sifati Ukasha first gave birth to twins, it was a short-lived celebration. Both arrived early and weighed in at just under four pounds, so Sifati feared her tiny baby girls might not survive. “My joy turned into sorrow when I saw that they were very tiny. I could not hide my disappointment as I broke into tears on the labor bed,” she said.

In Malawi, where Sifati lives, nearly 1 in 5 babies is born preterm and 1 in 45 newborns dies within the first four weeks of life. Lack of access to warmth, breastfeeding support and basic care for infections and breathing problems contribute to these poor outcomes…


Give the Gift of Saving Newborn Lives this Holiday Season

Devan Deignan – Every Preemie website, December 19, 2017

Did you know that every year 15 million babies are born prematurely worldwide? Of these babies, more than one million die due to complications related to premature birth. Malawi has the highest rate of premature birth in the world, with 18% of babies born too soon, and many families struggle to provide the basic resources needed to ensure their newborn has a healthy start in life. The good news? You can make a difference. This holiday season, the Every Preemie – SCALE project has partnered with Alternative Gifts International to improve the lives of newborns and their caretakers by delivering life-saving resources in the Balaka district of Malawi…


Prenatal Vitamin Distribution to Boost Newborn Outcomes in Liberia

Judith Robb-McCord – PCI’s End Poverty Blog, December 18, 2017

Each year in Liberia, 14% of babies are born too small, weighing less than 5.5 pounds. Complications due to low birth weight (LBW) in newborns can cause a series of problems including increased vulnerability to infectious diseases and, in some cases, death. One of the leading causes of LBW in newborns in Liberia is poor maternal nutrition, most notably from deficiencies in essential vitamins during pregnancy. Global evidence shows that women who receive micronutrient supplements during pregnancy are less likely to deliver LBW babies (Smith, ER et al. 2017).

Project Concern International’s Every Preemie—SCALE Project (Every Preemie) partnered with Kirk Humanitarian, Jhpiego via the USAID Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP)/Liberia, and the Liberia Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) to combat these alarmingly high rates of LBW by delivering vitamins to pregnant and lactating mothers in Liberia…


Let Them Thrive: Quality Care for the Smallest

Judith Robb-McCord – Healthy Newborn Network, November 15, 2017

Every Preemie–SCALE is proud to partner with the global community and country partners to strengthen efforts to improve preterm birth outcomes, particularly in low-resource settings. World Prematurity Day 2017 highlights the importance of quality care for the smallest, recognizing that preterm babies are particularly vulnerable to death and disability.

In fact, complications related to preterm birth are the number-one cause of mortality among children under 5 globally. If the global community and national governments are serious in their quest to meet Sustainable Development Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages, heightened attention must be given to the safe and effective care of preterm newborns (those born before 37 weeks gestation) to ensure that they survive and thrive


Every Preemie—SCALE Convenes Partners around Respectful Newborn Care

Maria Stepanchak and Jim Litch – Every Preemie website, October 3, 2017

The first month of life is the most vulnerable time for a child’s survival. In 2015, 2.7 million children died in the first 28 days of life and 1.3 million were stillborn. Addressing access to quality, equitable, and respectful care around the time of birth and during the neonatal period is critically important for maternal and newborn survival. On September 26, 2017, Every Preemie—SCALE convened a group of technical experts in Washington, DC to explore issues around providing respectful care to newborns. While much work has been done to address respectful care for women during childbirth, more attention is needed to define respectful care for newborns during birth and beyond…


Multi-country Situation Analysis of Inpatient Care of Newborns and Young Infants

Judith Robb-McCord – Every Preemie website, August 10, 2017
The Every Preemie – SCALE project (Every Preemie) is in the process of finalizing a protocol and tools for a multi-country situation analysis of inpatient care of newborns and young infants in select countries in Africa and Southeast Asia. This multi-country situation analysis will assess service readiness and quality of care by examining health system structures and facility processes for inpatient care of sick newborns and young infants from 0-59 days old…


Every Preemie—SCALE Launches Do No Harm Technical Briefs to Improve the Safe and Effective Use of Key Inpatient Newborn Care Interventions

Judith Robb-McCord and Jim Litch – Every Preemie website, July 19, 2017

Complications due to preterm birth are the leading cause of child death globally. While 90 percent of extremely small newborns survive in high-resource settings, only ten percent survive in low-resource settings. The complexity of care, use of technology, limitations of staff and inadequate infrastructure, compounded by the underlying vulnerability of sick and preterm newborns, can result in unintentional harm. Highlighting the need for a focus on safe and effective inpatient care in low-resource settings is an important step to avoid harm and improve health outcomes for newborns…


PCI Secures Private Donation to Benefit Fragile Newborns, Mothers in Malawi

Elimase Kamanga and Maureen Simpson – Every Preemie website, July 13, 2017

Nine health facilities in the Balaka District of Malawi recently received supplies that will transform the quality of care for more than 2,000 preterm and low birth weight (LBW) babies and their mothers.

The shipment—which included special feeding cups, wraps for skin-to-skin contact, hospital gowns, bed linens, and baby hats and socks—was made possible through donations from Larry and Mary Lynn Weitzen, Jody Mincks and The Sabin Children’s Foundation. The Weitzens are longtime supporters of Project Concern International (PCI) and learned about the needs in Malawi through the USAID-funded Every Preemie-SCALE project. In June, they visited the Balaka District Hospital, where they were able to see part of their donation in action…


Happy Father’s Day from Every Preemie

Devan Deignan – Every Preemie website, June 18, 2017

Today, as we celebrate Father’s Day, we would like to acknowledge the contributions made by fathers in caring for their early/small newborns.

Every year, 15 million babies are born prematurely (before 37 weeks of gestation) and complications of premature birth is the leading cause of death for children under 5 globally. This is a staggering reality for many families in low-income countries as they struggle to provide the basic care that their newborns need to survive. This struggle only grows as mothers frequently take on the role of sole caretaker for these vulnerable newborns, often affecting their well-being and that of other  children in the household. Every Preemie—SCALE, a USAID-funded project, is leading efforts to change this dynamic and engage fathers in caring for their newborns in Balaka district, Malawi…


Every Preemie Partners with Ethiopian Ministry of Health and St. Paul’s Hospital to Improve Programming for Early and Small Babies

Every Preemie website, April 7, 2017ep-cover-story-image

Every year in Ethiopia, more than 300,000 babies are born too soon—less than 37 weeks of gestation. These babies are at increased risk of death, long-term disabilities and ill health later in life. Yet, there are a range of interventions that target women before they are even pregnant and during pregnancy that can prevent preterm birth and, most preterm babies can survive with basic care including drying, warming, immediate and exclusive breastfeeding, hygiene and cord care. Given Ethiopia’s success in reducing deaths among children less than five years old, a higher proportion of under-five deaths are occurring among newborns within the first 28 days of life (29 deaths/1,000 live births). Complications due to preterm birth, infections and breathing difficulties are the top three causes of death among newborns in Ethiopia…


Every Preemie Partners with Local Research Institution in India to Study Guidelines for Antenatal Corticosteroids Use

Every Preemie website, March 26, 2017

Complications from preterm birth is the number one cause of death for children under age five around the world – a staggering statistic with one in ten babies born too soon.  India has more preterm births than any other country in the world – over 3.3 million per year – and over 300,000 deaths due to direct preterm complications. The Government of India has taken action to prevent preterm birth and to improve the chances of survival for babies born too soon including publishing operational guidelines in 2014 to direct the use of antenatal corticosteroids (ACS) in health facilities. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends ACS be administered to women who are at risk of early labor between 24-34 weeks of pregnancy to promote lung maturity in the unborn baby. However, ACS can also be harmful when used past 35 weeks of pregnancy – a date which can be difficult to estimate in low-resource settings. We know ACS has the potential to help preterm babies survive, but tailored and context-specific approaches are needed to ensure its safe and effective use…


Launch of Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health

The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, February 15, 2017

Today, Malawi joined forces with national governments from nine countries to establish a Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. The Network unites first wave countries (Bangladesh, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda) with a high-level political commitment, leadership and readiness for improving quality of care. The aim of the Network is to halve maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths in participating health facilities in five years. It also aims to operationalise a common vision for Quality of Care —Every mother and newborn receives quality care throughout the pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal periods —through coordinated actions and investments among all stakeholder groups and constituencies….


Every Preemie—SCALE Convenes Technical Experts Around Safe & Effective Care of Preterm Babies

PCI’s End Poverty Blog, November 17, 2016

Complication from preterm birth (babies born too soon) is the number one cause of death around the world for children under age five. In the United States, almost one in ten babies is born preterm–the 6th highest rate in the world. Yet, the vast majority of these babies survive while in low-income countries the majority of babies born too soon will not. The difference being that preterm babies in high-income countries receive the care they need to survive and thrive. While we know what works to save preterm babies’ lives, applying this knowledge in low-resource settings can be challenging…


Kangaroo Mother Care Endorsed by Major Pediatric, Obstetric, Nursing, and Midwifery Associations

Press Release, Save the Children, November 16, 2016

Representatives of six major US and international health professional associations released an International Policy Statement for Universal Use of Kangaroo Mother Care for Preterm and Low Birthweight Infants at a press event held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, November 15. The event, timed to coincide with World Prematurity Day, aimed to call attention to the effectiveness of “kangaroo mother care,” or KMC, in improving health outcomes for premature and low birthweight babies…

Joint Statement: International Policy Statement for Universal Use of Kangaroo Mother Care for Preterm and Low Birthweight Infants


New WHO Antenatal Care Recommendations: An Important Step Toward Saving Lives, Says Every Preemie

Jim Litch, Judith Robb-McCord, Patrice White – PCI’s End Poverty Blog, November 15, 2016

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released new Antenatal Care Recommendations to help improve care of pregnant women and reduce the risk of stillbirths and pregnancy complications and give women a positive pregnancy experience. Every Preemie-SCALE supports these guidelines as critical steps to saving lives around the world…


Every Preemie—SCALE launches multi-country report on antenatal corticosteroid policy and implementation

Judith Robb-McCord – Healthy Newborn Network, July 20, 2016

In June 2016, the USAID-funded Every Preemie—SCALE project, a consortium of Project Concern International (PCI), Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth (GAPPS) and American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), finalized and launched Antenatal Corticosteroids for Women at Risk of Imminent Preterm Birth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda: A Policy and Implementation Landscape Analysis.  The landscape analysis was conducted on behalf of the Newborn Health Technical Resource Team under the UN Commission for Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children (UNCoLSC)…


Are Preterm and Low Birthweight Babies Treated as a Priority?

La Rue Seims – Every Preemie website, May 30, 2016

The majority of preterm deaths are preventable with good maternal and newborn care.  Recently, we asked ourselves how to determine if the care of preterm and low birthweight babies is prioritized within the countries where we work.  How could we arrive at one condensed and easy-to-grasp measure of whether the needs of these vulnerable newborns were being addressed and whether the situation was changing within the reality of continued inconsistencies and inadequacies in maternal and newborn health care?


Midwives Offer Helping Hands to Ensure Early and Small Babies Survive and Thrive

Judith Robb-McCord – PCI’s End Poverty Blog, May 5, 2016

Today, as we celebrate International Day of the Midwife, thousands of families in Malawi recognize and applaud the important contributions midwives have made for improved maternal, newborn and child health. Over the past 15 years and as part of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), midwives have worked closely with local health care providers and communities to significantly reduce child mortality. Malawi is only one of a handful of countries to boast this achievement. And yet, newborn deaths remain quite high…


World Prematurity Day: PCI Convenes Congressional Briefing

Christa Davis – PCI’s End Poverty Blog, December 8, 2015

Each year, 15 million babies are born premature throughout the world, and over a million of them don’t survive. In fact, preterm birth is the number one killer of children under five worldwide. The good news is that most of these lives can be saved with access to information, simple care methods and low-cost interventions. On November 17, World Prematurity Day, our Every Preemie Program hosted a congressional briefing on Capitol Hill to discuss partnerships and initiatives targeting preterm birth around the world…


Giving Preemies a Fighting Chance

Judith Robb-McCord – PCI’s End Poverty Blog, November 17, 2015

Today is World Prematurity Day, and this morning I happened to meet a young American family whose son was born eight weeks premature. After six weeks in the hospital, he was sent home where he continued to thrive under his family’s care. Now four months old, he is healthy and bright. Seeing him and the joy he brings to his parents made me think of the millions of families around the world whose preterm babies don’t get the care they need to survive and thrive…


Breastfeeding: Babies’ Perfect Food

Judith Robb-McCord – PCI’s End Poverty Blog, August 4, 2015

Breastfeeding is nature’s state-of-the-art nutrition and care for newborns and toddlers the world over. The benefits of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life are well established. While full-term babies can usually latch on to the breast right away, babies born too early, before 37 weeks of gestation, may need extra breastfeeding support until they are able to nurse on their own. These early babies, or preemies, require extra care and attention to reduce their vulnerability to illness, disability and even death…


World Breastfeeding Week: How to Help Your Newborn Grow Up Healthy

Jim Litch – PCI’s End Poverty Blog, July 31, 2015

This is a guest post by Dr. Jim Litch through our Every Preemie – SCALE partnership with the Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth. I spent years living and working in rural, mountainous Nepal – a 10 day walk from the nearest road – and one experience has always stood out to me. One morning I was called to the delivery of a baby who was being born much too soon…


Huffington Post “Next 10 Challenge”

Judith Robb-McCord – Huffington Post, May 26, 2015

Worldwide, preterm birth is the primary cause of death among children under five, often happening in the first month of life. Fifteen million babies are born early every year, with most of those births occurring in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia…


Every Preemie Collaboration to Fight Preterm Birth

PCI’s End Poverty Blog, May 8, 2015

Collaboration is key in our approach to development. That’s why we’re always thrilled to work with partners to solve big problems like preterm birth – which is the #1 cause of death for children under five. Our Every Preemie project is doing just that. Its goal is to seek out and advocate for life saving steps that reduce deaths due to preterm birth…


Highlighting the Work of Midwives: IDM 2015 and the Post-MDG Future

Suzanne Stalls – ACNM blog, May 5, 2015

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) draw to a close this year, and maternal and child health providers have much to reflect on for numbers 4 and 5.  Millennium Development Goal 5 is to reduce maternal mortality by 75%. Unfortunately, the global rate of maternal mortality has been falling annually at less than half of what would be required to achieve the goal…


Powerful Cross-Sector Push for Global Action to Prevent Preterm Birth

Healthy Newborn Network, March 2, 2015

In a powerful statement of support for a new push to prevent preterm birth, more than 50 organizations came together in New York City on February 18th, 2015, to discuss the first public-private partnership to prevent preterm birth, with an initial focus on the three countries where one third of all preterm births and an astounding half of all newborn deaths from preterm complications occur – India, Nigeria and Pakistan…


Preterm Birth Linked to Intimate Partner Violence during Pregnancy

Judith Robb-McCord – PCI’s End Poverty Blog, December 10, 2014

On Human Rights Day, the global community re-sounded the alarm on the global epidemic of violence against women and girls. The numbers are heart wrenching and an “epidemic” of this nature is entirely unacceptable. While people around the world fear the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and Ebola, thousands of women and girls worldwide continue to be the victims of violence and sexual abuse on a daily basis…


Taking Action to Save Premature Babies

Judith Robb-McCord – Devex, November 17, 2014

When you ask most Americans what the number one cause of death among children under 5 is worldwide, premature birth isn’t at the top of the list. Yet this year, 15 million babies will be born too soon throughout the world and over 1 million of these babies won’t survive — in fact, most won’t live past the first four weeks of life…


PCI Works for Infant Health on World Prematurity Day

Judith Robb-McCord – PCI’s End Poverty Blog, November 13, 2014

Nearly fifteen million babies are born before 37 weeks of pregnancy each year, making them premature and at risk for complications. More than 1 million of these premature babies don’t survive and the difference among countries is staggering: premature babies in low-income countries are more than 10 times more likely to die than those in high-income countries. Prematurity is the leading cause of newborn deaths in the first four weeks of life and the leading cause of death among children under five-years-old around the world. However, 75% of these deaths are preventable through basic care such as warmth, breastfeeding and care for breathing difficulties…