Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Two adolescent girls take a selfie photograph.

Coming of age - adolescent health

24 September 2018 -- The world now has more young people than ever before – of the 7.2 billion people worldwide, over 3 billion are younger than 25 years, making up 42% of the world population. Around 1.2 billion of these young people are adolescents aged between 10 and 19 years. Adolescence is a critical time of life. It is a time when people become independent individuals, forge new relationships, develop social skills and learn behaviours that will last the rest of their lives. It can also be one of the most challenging periods. "Coming of age" examines these issues facing adolescents.

A portrait of a child in Tanzania.

A child under 15 dies every 5 seconds - mostly from preventable causes

18 September 2018 – An estimated 6.3 million children under 15 years of age died in 2017, or 1 every 5 seconds, mostly from preventable causes, according to new mortality estimates released by WHO, UNICEF, the United Nations Population Division and the World Bank Group. The vast majority of these deaths – 5.4 million – occurred in the first 5 years of life, with newborns accounting for around half. Globally, half of all deaths under 5 years of age took place in sub-Saharan Africa, and another 30% in Southern Asia. In sub-Saharan Africa, 1 in 13 children died before their fifth birthday. In high-income countries, that number was 1 in 185.

A heath worker explains home-based records with family members.

WHO releases recommendations on home-based records for maternal, newborn and child health

13 September 2018 – Home-based records have been widely implemented for decades. They are currently in use in at least 163 countries. They vary greatly in their design and content across countries and regions. However, the evidence of their benefits and harms has not been systematically reviewed and summarized. This guideline seeks to address this gap by reviewing the evidence of the effects of home-based records on maternal, newborn and child health outcomes and health service delivery outcomes.

A child and infant seated.

Child health review considers the best country strategies to help each child survive and thrive

30 July 2018 -- The BMJ in partnership with WHO and UNICEF have launched a special collection of articles that explore how to achieve ambitious child health goals to safeguard the health and wellbeing of children across the world. The collection shares findings from a review of two leading global child health strategies, examines previous and current best practices and considers future needs when rethinking global and national child health programmes. It also aims to stimulate discussion and exchange between stakeholders at global, regional, and national levels, and provide a basis for policy and strategy changes at global and national level.

Partha Sarathi Sahana
A mother, supported by her mother, breastfeeds one of her 3-month-old twin sons, in Karineh Village in Magbema Chiefdom, Kambia District, in Sierra Leone.

3 in 5 babies not breastfed in the first hour of life

At the beginning of World Breastfeeding Week, 1-7 August, WHO and UNICEF report that an estimated 78 million babies – or 3 in 5 – are not breastfed within the first hour of life, putting them at higher risk of death and disease and making them less likely to continue breastfeeding. The report analyzed data from 76 countries, and found that despite the importance of early initiation of breastfeeding, too many newborns are left waiting too long for reasons including: feeding newborns food or drinks, including formula; the rise in elective C-sections; and gaps in the quality of care provided to mothers and newborns

A woman and infant look into eachother's faces.

Nurturing Care Framework for Early Childhood Development launched at the 71st World Health Assembly

Investing in early childhood development is one of the best investments a country can make to boost economic growth, promote peaceful and sustainable societies, and eliminate extreme poverty and inequality. Equally important, it is necessary to uphold the right of every child to survive and thrive. Recognising this WHO, UNICEF, and the World Bank, in collaboration with the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, the Early Childhood Development Action Network, have today launched a Nurturing care framework for early childhood development at the 71st World Health Assembly. The Framework was developed through a global consultation involving contributions from over 1000 individuals from 111 countries.

K R Harsha/flickr
A graphic of mother, newborn and midwife.

Midwives are essential to the provision of quality of care, in all settings, globally

5 May is International Day of the Midwife 2018. This year the focus is on quality of care. All women and newborns have a right to a quality of care that enables a positive childbirth experience that includes respect and dignity, a companion of choice, clear communication by maternity staff, pain relief strategies, mobility in labour and birth position of choice. Evidence shows us that midwives educated and regulated to international standards can provide 87% of the needs of all women and newborns, and that continuity of midwife-led care increases maternal satisfaction and prevents pre-term birth by 24%.

International Conference of Midwives

A mother and newborn.

WHO's work on maternal and newborn health

Consultant opportunities

A woman with her baby wrapped close to her chest per Kangaroo Mother Care

Improving maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health through evidence based guidelines and guidance.

A father looks into the face of a newborn.

Generating high quality epidemiological information and monitoring and evaluation data to strengthen the uptake and implementation of maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health guidelines, policies and programmes.

A midwife with a mother and newborn.

Quality of care means safe, effective, timely, efficient, equitable and people-centred health care.

Data banner.

Consultancy opportunities

Contact us

Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (MCA)
World Health Organization
20 Avenue Appia
1211 Geneva 27

Tel.: +41 22 791 3281
Fax: +41 22 791 4853