Presenter: Luc de Bernis, UNFPA
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Background: Despite a huge burden, and major potential impact, stillbirth remains “one of the key neglected global priorities”, as reported by the UN’ Independent Expert Review Group in 2015. Stillbirths are not consistently visible and integrated within or monitored by existing reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) platforms and mechanisms, including the Sustainable Development Goals.
Methodology: To achieve national targets for stillbirth reduction set in the Every Newborn action plan, we consider the call to action from The Lancet Every Newborn Series and how this relates to stillbirths. We also assess the essential interventions identified and highlight key gaps in knowledge.
Results: Five priority areas were identified in the Every Newborn series to advance progress towards stillbirth prevention: intentional leadership, increasing the voice of women and addressing stigma, investment for impact, implementation and innovation, and improving indicators and metrics. Although high-quality evidence-based interventions exist for stillbirth prevention, indicators are lacking. There is a clear need to better understand the network of organizations incorporating stillbirth into their efforts for RMNCAH, why organizations and platforms including stillbirth choose to do so, as well as to identify possible opportunities to incorporate stillbirths into existing work.
Conclusion: Action is needed on many fronts to support countries in meeting stillbirth reduction targets, and especially to reduce equity gaps, including placement of stillbirth priority on the international and local agenda, through global and national policies, with needs for monitoring and research underpinned by intentional development of leaders. The forthcoming Lancet Series on Ending Preventable Stillbirths will set out a crisp call for action with clear steps for all stakeholders to achieve the target of ending preventable stillbirths by 2030, highlighting the needs for women around the world, 7000 every day, who bear this loss in silence and often with stigma.