Essential Newborn Care

The newborn period is the most vulnerable time in a child's life. This course will orient the participant to key technical and programmatic concepts in the provision of care that is essential to all newborns.


By the end of this mini-course, the participant will be able to:

  • Discuss the significance of newborn mortality
  • Discuss the main causes of newborn mortality
  • Describe the maternal health/family planning link to newborn survival
  • Describe elements of antenatal care and childbirth care that contribute to newborn survival
  • Describe immediate care and initial assessment of the newborn 
  • Describe assessment and care specific to the first week
  • Describe assessment and care of the newborn specific to the first month
  • Discuss the key points for successful breastfeeding
  • Discuss artificial feeding of newborns
  • Describe newborn care in the household and community
  • Describe newborn care in the peripheral facility and outreach services
  • Describe newborn conditions that require referral (Care for these conditions will be described in a companion course, Care of the Newborn with Problems, which is currently in development.)
  • Discuss the elements of performance support needed for people providing essential newborn care (community health workers, skilled attendants, and other health care professionals)
  • Discuss implementation strategies in programming for essential newborn care
  • Discuss the steps in program development for newborn health and survival
  • Describe key programming myths and realities
  • Describe some key program examples of essential newborn care


We greatly appreciate the invaluable help from the following individuals in developing this course:

Deborah Armbruster, PATH
Annie Clark, American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM)
Pat Daly, ACCESS
Katrin DeCamp, ACCESS
Frances Ganges, Independent Consultant
Patricia Gomez, ACCESS
Robert Johnson, Independent Consultant
Lily Kak, USAID
Neena Khadka, Saving Newborn Lives (SNL)
Nahed Matta, USAID
Judith Moore, Saving Newborn Lives (SNL)
Indira Narayanan, BASICS
Mary Riley, USAID
Harshad Sanghvi, JHPIEGO
Jim Shelton, USAID
Mary Ellen Stanton, USAID
Teresa Tirabassi, Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs