Save the Children, a Westport-based international relief agency, has received a five-year grant of $40 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for its Saving Newborn Lives program.

Since 2000, the initiative has worked with governments and partners to develop and support the adoption of affordable and effective ways to improve newborn health and survival in many of the world's poorest countries. The agency will focus its work in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where more than three-quarters of the world's newborn deaths occur, according to a release.

In the decade since Save the Children established the program with support from the foundation, annual newborn deaths have dropped globally from 4 million to 2.9 million.

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