The symposium will be devoted to highlight the regional experience from innovative health projects on improving neonatal health in South-East Asian countries; the lessons learnt and the recommendations for improving the same in the region. The examples will be taken from different South-East Asian countries according to the stages of socio-economic development of individual countries. The reforms in neonatal health will be compared across the region within the context of rapid demographic, health and socio-economic development. The speakers will address the main features of innovative projects; how these have affected the health of the neonate, and the lessons learned. The countries of the Region have 25% of the global population and more than 40% of neonatal deaths. After a steady decline in infant mortality rate, there is stagnation attributable to continued high neonatal mortality rates. In several countries, neonatal mortality is about two-thirds of infant mortality. Early neonatal deaths are two-thirds of neonatal mortality. Deaths during the first day of life are two-thirds of early neonatal deaths. The data on cause of death is unsatisfactory. In the hospitals, prematurity tops the cause of deaths while in the community, infections lead the list of causes. The incidence of LBW is high in the countries of the Region varying between 7% in Thailand to 50% in Bangladesh. Implementation of simple interventions with proven effectiveness on neonatal outcomes needs to be accelerated at the country level. In addition there is a need to identify the most cost -effective interventions to manage the neonates at first level health facilities and referral institutions and promote their implementation. There is an urgent need for creating a niche for the neonates in existing programmes. The Millennium Development Goals (2015) of reducing under five and infant mortality rates cannot be realised unless neonatal mortality declines by about 50% of the current levels. Neonatal mortality is quite amenable to reduction, since evidence-based, affordable and effective interventions are available to improve neonatal health and reduce neonatal mortality. The recommendations of the symposium would help the counties of the region in scaling up of successful programmes and also modifying the ongoing programmes.
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