One area of development that is near and dear to my heart is child survival. As a mother of two children and a world traveler, I’ve seen firsthand the poverty and pain that many mothers around the world face by protecting their children and giving them everything they can to help them survive.
Often when I work with these children and their mothers, and I learn more about some of the devastating obstacles that stand in the way to raising a healthy, happy child, my heart gets broken. You see, my children were born in the United States to two educated parents who have the ability to ensure they receive good nutrition, safe drinking water and proper sanitation, education, immunizations and health care. Sometimes I scratch my head in disbelief realizing how lucky we are to live in a place where we take these fundamental rights for granted.
I believe strongly that it is our moral obligation to ensure other people around the world have the same opportunities at a healthy life as we do. Yes, the task is incredibly daunting and immense. But we can change things.
One statistic that we can change and have changed is child survival. Over the past few decades, we have made tremendous progress for ensuring children under five survive by such simple things as promoting exclusive breastfeeding for newborns, providing immunizations and safe water and sanitation, and increasing availability of nutritious foods and antibiotics for children and their families.
However, despite this progress we still have a long way to go in ensuring no children die from preventable causes and we are coming up short at reaching the Millennium Development Goal 4 as stated in UNICEF’s new report “Committing to Child Survival: A Promised Renewed“:
Although we have made huge progress and have saved nearly 90 million lives over the past two decades, we are 13 years behind schedule in reaching MDG 4. That means 35 million children will die from now until 2028 – children whose lives could have been saved if we kept our promise and reached MDG 4 by 2015.
I know that I’m going to do whatever I can to spread awareness on child survival and hopefully the world can come together to help protect our most sacred human beings: Our children.
To learn more: Download the report for more information and visit UNICEF to see how you can help.