“The Birth of a child should be a time of wonder and celebration. But for millions of mothers and babies in developing countries, it is a dance with death.” –Surviving the First Day, published by Save the Children
More than one million newborn babies die the day they are born each year around the world. The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Zambia and the NGO “Save the Children” held an event together at the U.N to discuss the need to improve maternal health. The World Youth Alliance was present at the event
According to their latest report “Surviving the First Day” by Save the Children, almost three million babies die within the first month and one third of them died on the day they were born. Harsh sanitary conditions, lack of skilled birth attendants and inadequate basic medical supplies not only cause the death of children but their mothers’.
The report suggests that the most effective way to save the newborns is to provide 4 low-cost products: Birth complications such as resuscitation devices; Preterm Birth cares; Infection prevention medicines and injectable antibiotics. Each of them cost less than two dollars but could possibly save more than half a million babies.
Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) also has been mentioned several times as an effective solution during the event. It is a method that started in Columbia 20 years ago which provides care for all newborn babies. KMC emphasizes the importance of skin-to-skin contact (baby’s front and the mother’s chest), breastfeeding and the dyadic support for mother and child.
During the discussion, an interesting question was raised by the representative of the Permanent Mission of the United States: “What should be done differently for foreign aid programs to meet the needs?” Most panelists agreed that we have to focus more on the needs of mothers and first day children, such as the low cost products mentioned above, basic food supplies and sanitary system.
Governments and aid agencies need to focus on prenatal care, training skilled birth attendants, building adequately equipped birthing facilities and empowering women via education. Such actions will not only have a shoot at global success but also avoid the dreaded phantasm of death knocked its fingers on the door of families who just welcomed their new born babies.
World Youth Alliance Maternal Health White Paper and Fact Sheet: https://www.wya.net/advocacy/research/maternalhealth.html
By Jonathan T.Y Yang, A WYA HQ Intern from Taiwan.