Informed decisions for actions in maternal and newborn health

Saving Newborn Lives

Saving Newborn Lives

Save the Children logoSave the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives (SNL) program sought to reduce global neonatal mortality by facilitating the development of effective, evidence-based newborn care innovation packages and implementing them at scale. To accomplish this goal, SNL generated evidence and advocated for increased availability and access to routine and emergency newborn care services and supplies, improved quality of newborn care services, and increased knowledge about and demand for newborn care.

Research journal articles


In Ethiopia, SNL conducted a trial to strengthen and evaluate the effect of a package of community-based innovations for newborns to support the government’s Health Extension Program, such as the management of neonatal sepsis by government Health Extension Workers (HEW). The trial is known as the ‘Community-based Interventions for Newborns in Ethiopia (or COMBINE) Trial’.

The COMBINE study was led by Save the Children, in partnership with JSI Research & Technology Institute, Inc., the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health, UNICEF, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and the Ethiopian Paediatrics Association with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

COMBINE’s innovations were interlinked and inlcuded:

  • Female community health promoters conduct home visits to identify pregnancies, deliveries, and conduct three home visits during the early postnatal period;
  • HEWs deliver integrated community case management at health posts per current government policy; and
  • Health centers provide integrated management of newborn and childhood illness for community referrals. In instances where families do not accept referral from HEWs, HEWs have the ability to manage newborn sepsis at the health post.