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Counting every small and sick newborn: better data, better care
  1. Kate MacKinnon Milner1,2,
  2. Joy E Lawn3
  1. 1 Neurodevelopment and Disability, Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2 Neurodisability and Rehabilitation Research Group, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3 MARCH Centre, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kate MacKinnon Milner, Neurodevelopment and Disability, Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia; kate.m.milner{at}

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Counting outcomes beyond newborn survival

Ensuring every newborn survives and thrives requires ongoing attention to prevent the 2.5 million newborn deaths that occur worldwide every year and greater investment in measuring and improving long-term outcomes, beyond survival, especially for the most vulnerable small and sick newborns in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs).1 The majority of newborn deaths worldwide occur in LMICs and are preventable.1 As efforts to reduce preventable newborn deaths continue and care for small and sick newborns is included in universal health coverage, more newborns will survive.1However, there are important knowledge gaps regarding long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes for many of the world’s 30 million newborns who are estimated to require specialised care in hospital every year.1 As such, better measurement of neurodevelopmental outcomes will become increasingly important as sensitive markers of quality of newborn care, to reduce preventable impairment and to inform best ongoing care for children with long-term neurodevelopmental complications.

For example, we know that retinopathy of prematurity is largely preventable with attention to appropriate use and monitoring of oxygen for small and sick neonates, surveillance and early intervention for ROP when it occurs. However, unless systems are in place to monitor for ROP, opportunities to prevent long-term impairment as a result of this condition will be missed and consequences will be more severe for children affected.

Choung Do et al 2 provide a valuable contribution to the small but growing literature regarding …

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  • Twitter @KateMcMilner, @joylawn

  • Contributors The first draft of this editorial was undertaken by KMM with revisions jointly shared by KMM and JEL.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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