Our country has been haunted by a high child mortality rate over the past few decades. However, in the last few years India has successfully halved it by providing better access to nutrition and healthcare. Yet, the nation is still a prominent face in the annual global tally of deaths of children under the age of five. It’s disheartening to know that for every 1,000 live births, 42 children fail to survive.
You will be shocked to know that every 20 seconds a child dies from preventable causes. These include pneumonia, preterm and birth complications, newborn infections, diarrhoea and malaria – all easily preventable causes. Strategies to mitigate these, therefore, are important to improve India’s newborn child survival. Here are some ways we can fight child mortality and improve give underprivileged children a better life.
1. Frequent check-ups for expectant women
Even today, most Indian women rely on folk remedies when they are expecting and give less importance to modern medicine. As a result, maternal and prenatal health issues tend to go undiagnosed for weeks, which often affects the health of the mother and her unborn child. It’s very important to educate pregnant women regarding the importance of timely check-ups.
2. Hospital deliveries
The country’s poorest villages trust mid-wives, who attempt to deliver children in unhygienic, unsafe conditions. Developed countries have ramped up child survival rates by legislating for safer birthing conditions while providing trained birth attendants during delivery. Various NGOs have been working hard to encourage women to seek professional assistance at the time of delivery.
3. “Breast milk is the best milk”
This mindset must be ingrained in expecting mothers. While modern companies may market ‘formula’ milk, breast milk is essential for child’s immunity and provides a variety of medical benefits. It’s also very nutritious and helps in the normal growth of a baby.
4. Regular medical check-ups and vaccination for newborns
The first few years in a child’s life decide his health in the future. Immunisation, access to a balanced diet and preventive medicine are essential for infants. Government and NGOs like Save the Children are running campaigns to educate parents about the importance of timely vaccination for their little ones.
Donate to Save the Children and help fight child mortality
Save the Children has been making efforts to reduce newborn and child death by generating awareness about these essentials. The NGO is also working to enhance coordination between sectors like Integrated Child Development Services Scheme, Department of Health and Family Welfare and Panchayat Raj Institutions, to create an ecosystem that works for infant health and survival. Here’s how Save the Children has been supporting the cause:
1. Coordinating with government authorities to better implement policies, while formulating the conditions for better laws. Community members are also linked to existing schemes.
2. Training Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs) to provide immediate healthcare to mothers, newborns and pregnant women
3. Supporting India’s public health and access to nutrition
4. Informing communities of the importance of natal checkups, hospital deliveries, breastfeeding, and access to nutrition and medicine.
6. Communicating path-breaking solutions to reduce newborn and child mortality, while being a valuable partner to civic agencies.
7. Preventing malnutrition by cooking demonstrations, health camps and navigating malnourished children to nutrition rehab.
NGOs like Save the Children have designed several campaigns to enhance awareness among people living in the country’s backward regions to reduce the incidence of easily preventable, yet often fatal diseases. This is part of a holistic approach to reducing child mortality in India, which will involve efforts from government, civil society and community. The NGO is fiercely fighting to make every child’s Right to Survival a reality by taking active measures in the right direction.