Today the international nonprofit Save the Children released their yearly report on the state of newborn health and survival around the globe.
As a mother that birthed a baby who was a statistic in 2009 (one of 2.9 million newborns that year who did not survive their first 28 days of life), I can’t thank Save the Children enough for focusing on newborns.
As the report mentions, many newborn deaths are preventable. Cora’s death falls into a place of uncertainty. Had her congenital heart defect been found before she died, would she have lived? It’s a good possibility, so I do say her death was possibly preventable.
The plight of newborns born in Africa is particularly devastating. The rate of death for a neonate born in Africa is 4 times higher than in Europe, according to the report.
The report shares the story of Shefali from Bangladesh. She’s give birth to six children. Three of them died before they turned a week old. As a mother who lost one child before she turned a week old, my heart shatters for her.
Shefali says that her family is unable to pay for medical care and treatment. Her words are heartbreaking.
“Whenever a child is born and then dies, we’re overwhelmed with grief. it’s terrible. We feel like we need to take the child to the doctor but we can’t. i’m not the only one here who has lost children – there are many other mothers like me.” -Shefali, mom to six
What would you do with one day to live?
Worldwide, 1 million babies only get one day on this earth. Each year, 1 million babies die on their first and only day of life.
I know it’s not easy to read or think about baby’s dying. But as you go through your day today, rather it be amazing, an average day, or a rather crappy day. Think about that. Think about it as for 1 million little humans the only day they have.
Save the Children calls 2014 “The Opportunity for Life Saving Change.”
Save the Children doesn’t just publish the report to help us understand the dire situation for newborns worldwide, but offers solutions.
“The solution needs specific and urgent attention. The key way to stop newborn deaths is to ensure that essential care is provided around labour, delivery and immediately afterwards when the risks are greatest. That means having a skilled, well-equipped birth attendant available to assist women and newborns during delivery. While we focus on this, there are also tremendous opportunities to reduce maternal and newborn mortality and stillbirths through key interventions during pregnancy and in the later postnatal period.”
The World Health Organization is currently drafting an Early Newborn Action Plan, with institutions, researchers, individuals and countries weighing in on how to make newborn survival a priority and a reality and to end preventable newborn deaths.
In fact, you can weigh in too. Parents, and anyone that cares about the survival of newborns are being asked for feedback.
In the report, Save the Children called on world leaders, philanthropists and private-sector leaders to make a newborn promise. A promise to do what it takes to end preventable newborn death.
I’m calling on you to make a promise. For Cora, and the 2.9 million newborns that die to a preventable cause each year.
Promise to support the organizations helping.
Promise to speak up, share your stories and give your input.
Promise to read the Save the Children report.
Promise to care. Our attention is pulled in so many directions, but we can’t overlook where life begins, with our babies.