How Save the Children Works to Combat Child Mortality in India

Tuesday 11 July 2017

Child mortality in India is a topic of growing concern, despite policy reform and activism by concerned organisation. Approximately 1.83 million children under five years of age die each year in India, the highest rate of child mortality globally.  Global child rights NGO Save the Children has initiated a holistic approach to reducing child mortality in India, seeing the issue's urgency.  The NGO has joined hands with state and national governments, civil society, and communities to carry out programs.  Here are a few significant activities the NGO undertakes in the fight against child mortality.

1. Prenatal checkups

India marginalised communities must be apprised of the importance of regular prenatal checks. These will ensure a medical diagnosis, and swift treatment in case of health complications. These include not only short term issues, but also help diagnose the potential of long term health issues.  Prenatal checks must become a benchmark for society, and replace folk remedies prescribed for expecting women. The NGO's undertakes intervention through medical campaigns, and campaigns to spread the importance of prenatal checks for infant and maternal health.

2. Institutional deliveries

India's poorest communities often have a preference for midwives, instead of opting for institutional delivery. Midwives are untrained in addressing complications during birth. They also often do not have regard to conditions of hygiene and safety essential for infants who do not have a robust immune system. The NGO's push for institutional deliveries ensures a stronger survival rate for children.  Today, India has the highest rate of maternal death in the world. Between 2007 and 2008, half of all births in India occurred at home without skilled attendance.

3. Immediate and exclusive breastfeeding

“Breastmilk is the best milk” is an essential mindset, that must be inculcated into expecting mothers. It is the best nutrition for infants, and mothers must be led to opt for it instead of formula’ milk. Sadly, only 41% of mothers initiate early breastfeeding. Of India’s high infant mortality count, early initiation of breastfeeding can save 13% of all babies. NGOs like Save the Children ensures that mothers and communities are informed of breast milk's importance in building immunity, delivering protein, and giving access to a variety of medical benefits.

4. Regular checkups of newborns

A child's current and future health depends to a large extent on the health conditions and interventions in the first five years of his life. Save the Children provides access to regular immunisation, access to a balanced diet, and preventive medicine, the three pillars of healthcare.  These are provided through regular clinics, community sensitization, and sending teams of doctors at health camps in association with rural Primary Health Centres.  Tens of thousands of children receive this care, to save their lives.  Children are also taught the basics of hygiene and sanitation to prevent potentially fatal diseases like diarrhoea and malaria, which claims lakhs of young lives globally.

Conclusion

Aggregating the resources of governments, private organisations, and volunteers who support an NGO. Save the Children works in India's most backward and marginalised communities. The NGO trains Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs) to provide immediate healthcare to mothers, newborns and expectant women, while coordinating with government authorities to better implement policies, and formulating the conditions for better laws. It also works to support India's public health and access to nutrition and create awareness of recent solutions to reduce newborn and child mortality. Through many such campaigns by NGOs and government bodies, India has successfully halved its child mortality.  Donate online to support the fight against child mortality.