September 24th, 2008
01:27 PM ET

A better beginning for the world's babies

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/09/23/kalil.newborns/art.tom.kalil.jpg caption="Tom Kalil says an inexpensive kit can save the lives of many newborns."]

Editor's Note: The Clinton Global Initiative, founded by former President Bill Clinton, is meeting in New York this week, focusing on issues such as health, poverty and climate change. Tom Kalil is chairman of the initiative's global health working group and special assistant to the chancellor for science and technology at the University of California, Berkeley.  In the Clinton administration, Kalil was deputy assistant for technology and economic policy and deputy director of the White House Economic Council.

Tom Kalil
Special to CNN

Last year, 9.2 million children didn't make it to their fifth birthday. Of these, roughly 4 million children died within the first 28 days of life - the newborn period.

Many of these newborns die for reasons that are easily treatable or preventable. Their lives could be saved with very simple and low-cost interventions. For example, birth attendants can wash their hands before helping with a delivery, and use a clean blade to cut the umbilical cord.

Mothers can breast-feed their babies within an hour after birth and provide exclusive breast-feeding for the first six months.

This week, a group of leading organizations are joining together to help give moms and dads around the world tools and information to help their newborns survive. PATH (a Seattle-based nonprofit), Save the Children, and Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health will commit to create and distribute a "Better Beginning for Babies" kit.

Their goal is to raise at least $20 million over five years and reach 2 million newborns, and set the stage for a much larger and more ambitious global movement.


Filed under: Bill Clinton • Medical News
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Maureen, Newman California

    This sounds like an excellent plan!!

    September 24, 2008 at 7:20 pm |
  2. amy

    How do we contibute?

    September 24, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  3. Keith

    Where is WHO in this crisis?

    September 24, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  4. Cheryl

    I am a registered nurse and I love this idea. I am immediately going to mobilize a group of nurses to support and help with this. Thank you to everyone who assisted in bringing this idea to completion.

    September 24, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  5. Charlotte D

    Sorry, this is too expensive. We have to save our money to bail out the fat cats on Wall Street.

    September 24, 2008 at 1:59 pm |
  6. Betty Ann, Nacogdches,TX

    Thank God for some compassionate GOOD "news". I thought I was going to the nut house after the past couple of weeks of disasterous headlines.
    Thank you Bill Clinton!
    (And 360 too!)

    September 24, 2008 at 1:55 pm |