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Boston College

Publication Date

Spring 2018


Global statistics show that world-wide neonatal mortality rates are not yet within the target range set by Sustainable Development Goals and reflect persistent violations of the fundamental right to health for newborns around the world. While there is a wide base of knowledge on the main causes of death and minimum standards of care for neonatal health in stable and low-resource settings, there is a significant gap in knowledge regarding the unique circumstances of neonatal healthcare situated in conflict settings. The main objectives of this research are to elaborate on the current state of neonatal healthcare in conflict areas and elucidate remaining barriers that prevent successful newborn health outcomes in these settings. This research found that although various healthcare models have been successful in conflict settings, wide-spread gaps in services and technologies remain. Overall, while remaining barriers were found to vary by context, both direct and indirect challenges to the successful delivery of neonatal healthcare in conflict settings were found including the depletion of human resources, collapse of referral system, legal restrictions on care provision, lack of health information, scarcity of funding, market dynamics, and cultural/perspective differences. Each barrier must be addressed through the framework of “strategic governance” in order for the international community to better protect the right to health for newborns in conflict areas.


International Public Health | Maternal and Child Health | Maternal, Child Health and Neonatal Nursing