Chlorhexidine is a low-cost, highly-effective antiseptic that is used for umbilical cord care to protect newborns from life-threatening infections. In the right conditions, applying the cream to a newborn’s umbilical cord can reduce neonatal deaths by nearly a quarter.
In partnership with ministries of health, the private sector and other organizations, we focus on improving access to chlorhexidine in areas with high newborn mortality, high rates of home deliveries, and where harmful practices of cord care are common.
Quick Facts About Neonatal Infections
- Neonatal infections such as bacteremia, severe pneumonia and meningitis — collectively referred to as neonatal sepsis — are a leading cause of neonatal deaths, contributing to a third of all neonatal mortality.
- The main route for acquiring the infection is primarily the umbilical cord.
Quick Facts About Chlorhexidine
- The product is most effective when applied within the first 24 hours of birth and is shown to reduce all causes of newborn mortality by nearly a quarter in regions with high newborn mortality rates, high rates of home deliveries, and high rates of harmful cord care practices
- The gel form of chlorhexidine has a long shelf life, requires no refrigeration, and is extremely easy to apply with minimal training.
- The product is user-friendly, harmless, and small in size.
At PSI, we focus on creating an enabling environment to ensure policy is aligned with evidence at country level and inclusive of all appropriate channels to best reach women and neonatal children. We also invest in communications to increase awareness and knowledge among providers and consumers, while matching demand with supplies and delivery capacity.
Making a difference
PACE – PSI’s network member in Uganda – and PSI are teaming up with support from the Maverick Collective to market chlorhexidine as a part of a clean delivery kit as well as stand-alone tubes. PACE will generate awareness and demand through evidenced-based communication targeting users and providers.