Day One Health is an international program in intensive newborn care that has been active since 2005 in Vietnam and is supported by various local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Day One Health was registered as an independent charity in Redding, California in 2017. Day One Health works with governments, private companies, and local and international partners to increase the availability and use of newborn healthcare technology in low-resource settings.
The first 28 days of life–the neonatal period–is the most vulnerable time for a child’s survival. Between 1990 and 2015, there was a significant decrease in deaths among children under five years of age. Yet, progress in reducing newborn mortality has been far slower due to a lack of attention and investment: newborn deaths now account for 45% of under-five mortality, resulting in more than 2.5 million preventable deaths every year, with 98% of these deaths occurring in low-resource countries. This, in combination with an increasingly urban population, highlights the need for more focus on care during the first days of life. In these low-resource countries, many newborns die or develop disabilities because hospitals lack the appropriate equipment and skilled staff to address easily treatable conditions.
High-tech medical technology is often donated to hospitals in poorer countries. Many of these devices remain unused, as they are not designed for low-resource environments. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 90% of all pieces of medical equipment installed in low-resource countries does not work less than a year after installation. Doctors and nurses often report that donated equipment is difficult and expensive to operate mainly due to a high number of consumable parts, costs of repair, and the unsuitability of the equipment at hospitals that lack a reliable power supply. Additionally, many promising new health technologies never make the transition from laboratory to market and, if they do, often face difficulties in reaching scale. Rising awareness among resource-constrained nations about newborn care, a growing number of infant admissions in intensive care, and advancing technology are driving growth in the market. Factors such as increasing prevalence of hospital-acquired infections in newborn babies and huge patient populations of preterm and low birthweight babies in developed and emerging countries are further increasing demand for effective and appropriate newborn care equipment.