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Published on Sep 18, 2013
Cutting the umbilical cord at birth marks a baby's first step toward independence. But in developing countries, that simple act too often creates an entry point for bacteria, leading to a more generalized infection. And that's a very dangerous thing for a newborn.
Almost half of all newborn deaths in developing countries are related to infection.
Now there's a new tool to protect newborns, an antiseptic solution called chlorhexidine that is applied to the cord right after it is cut. As secretariat of the Chlorhexidine Working Group, PATH has worked with other organizations in the group to adapt this decades-old antiseptic into a new formulation for umbilical cord use (7.1 percent chlorhexidine digluconate).
For less than fifty cents a dose, this product could save an estimated 422,000 babies over the next five years.