Following The Lancet Neonatal Survival Series in 2005, this Every Newborn Series presents the clearest picture so far of the ongoing slow progress in newborn survival, provides new focus beyond survival, and combines research and reality in countries to set target for post-2015 to ensure that every newborn has a healthy start in life. Every year, 2·9 million newborn babies die from largely preventable causes, and 2·6 million more are stillborn. The five papers advocate for quality care at birth, which requires facility and community actions with a focus on the time of birth. This is the time when most deaths occur and when most lives can be saved, and long-term disabilities averted, through higher coverage of effective interventions. This strategy requires responsive health systems that are equipped with lifesaving commodities and staffed with health workers who can deliver high-quality and timely skilled care, including emergency obstetric care and interventions for small and ill newborn babies.