World Patient Safety Day - Safe maternal and newborn care

September 17th 2021

This year’s World Patient Safety Day, with its theme of “Safe Maternal and Newborn Care,” calls for global awareness of maternal and newborn health issues. A newly born child’s health largely depends on its primary caregiver, as its earliest physical and social interactions occur in the family. Children whose caregivers lack knowledge or confidence in their parenting skills may be more at risk for behavioral disorders as they grow older.

But how does one become a ‘good parent’? To some, it may appear instinctual to have a nurturing response and attitude when caring for a child. To others, positive parenting skills may not come so easily; and it is also a fact that there will always be someone’s “first time” being a parent. Thankfully, parenting competencies can be learned. One can take actions to protect children already in antenatal care during pregnancy. Preparing for the transition into parenthood can also support parents to understand more about the new changes and help the newly born child be better cared for.

As newborns grow into childhood, it is equally important to provide a supportive environment where children feel safe and encouraged to become independent yet also establish clear rules and boundaries to guide their growth. The Science of Care, a series of videos and science sheets introduced in November 2020 as part of UNODC’s ‘Listen First’ initiative, provides 10 different evidence-based approaches in achieving a positive environment for children to grow happy and resilient.

UNODC is excited to announce that a new series will be introduced shortly to support social and emotional skill development as a foundation for substance use prevention in children. Stay tuned for more!

For more information, UNODC and WHO have also published guidelines for identification and management of substance use and substance use disorders in pregnancy.

Made possible with the generous support of France.