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Gates Foundation Evaluating Two Behavior Change Approaches To Save Newborn Lives

“Two approaches have emerged recently to save newborn lives using behavior change in communities with high rates of newborn death,” Gary Darmstadt, head of the Family Health Division of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Wolfgang Munar, senior program officer in the division, write in the foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog. “The first approach involves organizing groups of women who then participate in a facilitated process to prioritize local issues affecting maternal and neonatal health,” and “[t]he second approach for inducing behavior change emphasizes what communities can do to reduce the risk of newborns dying, and to identify specific improvements in maternal and newborn health care which can mitigate those risks,” they write, expanding on each approach. “The Maternal Newborn and Child Health team … is testing (currently in Uttar Pradesh, India) whether a synthesis of the two approaches is best,” and “[t]he study should improve our understanding of how best to reduce newborn mortality through behavior change,” they state (10/16).