Indonesia Child Health Now Review 2010
There's a huge child crisis and the promis made by world leaders in the year 2000 to fix that is very far behind. When 300,000 people died in the earthquake im Hiti, the world appropriately responded generously and quickly, yet 27 times that number of children die every year before they turn five, and their deaths are virtually ignored.
The Best Start Saving Children’s lives in Their First Thousand Days
When the United Nations declares a famine and the media transmits haunting photos of starving children with distended bellies, the world snaps to attention. Thousands die, donor nations and agencies rush emergency food aid to the affected areas and, after a while, the immediate crisis recedes from public attention. But the primary causes of the tragedy remain.
So it is with the latest official famine in Somalia and the deteriorating food situation in the Horn of Africa, with more than 12 million of its inhabitants at risk of starvation or severe malnutrition. Many already suffer greatly the ravages of hunger and malnutrition. Indeed, it is this widespread but largely invisible malnutrition that continues to kill millions of children, long after a famine passes. And yet preventing undernutrition is much more effective than recuperating already undernourished children.
The lack of a proper diet is the underlying cause of death for some three million children annually. Tragically, the weakened immune systems of these babies and young children put them at much greater risk of developing preventable illnesses like pneumonia and diarrhoea, from which they then have less strength to recover.
In the developing world, more than 7,500 children under the age of five die every day as a result of undernutrition. That is a death toll of more than five every minute. Put another way, this death rate is equivalent to eight buses, fully loaded with children, crashing each hour of the day—and killing all aboard. No society would tolerate such hourly horrors, yet few have effectively grappled with eradicating this scourge.
In 2000, world leaders established eight Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015. One of them is to reduce child mortality rates by two-thirds. While considerable progress has been made to achieve this goal, efforts need to be stepped up substantially to reach it in the next three years. But it can be done.
Indeed, it must be done, unless we consider it acceptable to abandon the world’s youngest and most vulnerable. Addressing and overcoming malnutrition is a fairly straightforward, relatively inexpensive process—medical breakthroughs are not required. The world knows what works, and this report describes several World Vision programmes that have proven results.
For any nutrition programme, education is a critical first step, especially for mothers, other caregivers and community health workers. Too many are unaware that babies up to six months old require nothing more than breast milk. Providing even a simple extra such as water is not only unnecessary, but can be harmful. Mother’s milk contains all the nutrients a growing child needs in these first six months to develop mentally and physically. Nothing better illustrates the point than the unnecessary and preventable deaths of some one million babies annually because they are not exclusively breastfed.