Generating Political Priority for Neonatal Mortality Reduction in Four Developing Countries

Jeremy Shiffman, American University
Stephanie Smith, University of New Mexico

Each year 3.1 million babies die before reaching one month of life. Newborns now constitute more than 40% of deaths to children under five. This paper examines policy attention for newborn survival in four low-income countries - Bangladesh, Bolivia, Malawi and Nepal - as a means of investigating how governments come to prioritize the issue. Using a qualitative case study methodology, we conducted 140 interviews with actors involved in newborn survival in these four countries, analyzed government and donor reports and visited implementation sites. Among the factors that have shaped differences in policy priority are the presence of national champions promoting the cause; the degree of cohesion among national newborn survival policy communities; and the effectiveness of these champions and policy communities in generating evidence on the scope of the problem and on solutions.

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Presented in Session 88: Maternal, Infant, and Child Mortality in Developing Countries