Child Mortality: No child Should be Born to Die

A response piece to ‘No child should be born to die,’ Melinda Gates tells maternal health summit

Written By: Rawan Haddad

“No child should be born to die.” A powerful statement with a deep impact, used by Melinda Gates, to convey the struggles of women and newborns in developing countries during the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Summit that took place in Toronto last month.

Women and children in developing countries die from preventable causes during childbirth. Complications from infections, severe bleeding and disease occur as a result of scarcity of trained midwives, lack of access to healthcare and absence of sanitation, if, simply being in the form of clean scissors. A newborn’s perseverance for survival is then tested on the ability to endure insufficient nutrition and vaccinations. These are issues that are taken for granted in developed countries, ones that are usually expected if not actually guaranteed. It is difficult to imagine they contribute to almost 3 million newborn deaths a year.

Canada has pledged $2.85 billion until 2015 to reduce the maternal and early child mortality rate in developing countries, with a goal of saving 16 million lives. In Stephen Harper’s words, “even modest contributions can go a long way”. The funds are used to establish at least a basic level of healthcare for expectant mothers and newborns. Creating community-based health centers, training health workers and providing after-birth ‘home visits’ are some of the initiatives taken. As a result, progress has been made over the years in reducing death during child birth, still births and child mortality.

Efforts are being taken to bring into the international arena the difficulties of child birth in developing countries, and it has had an influence in reducing child mortality. The summit is another positive step towards working to improve maternal health and reduce child mortality and progress continues to be made globally. However, this is just the beginning. Continued funding from developed countries, unceasingly engaging the public community, diligently monitoring initiatives implemented and educating women in developed countries are key to continued success.

Do you think enough is being done to ensure the reduction of maternal and early child mortality?

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