Child Mortality – Make a Difference

7 06 2010

“A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” Mahatma Ghandi

If child mortality rates are the canary in the coal mine of a nation’s ability to care for its people, then Ghandi had it right. Even with its advantages, the United States struggles to care for the most vulnerable among the population.

Over the past 20 years, the U.S. has seen a 42 percent decline in child mortality. This sounds good, until we realize that Kazakhstan, Sierra Leone and Angola all saw the same rate of decline. Given our resources, it seems that we should be doing better than that.

Despite spending a boatload of money on healthcare, the U.S. continues to have frustratingly high rates of preventable disease.

The link between preventable disease and child mortality is part of the clarion call of healthcare reformers, who hope that new legislation will expand coverage for preventive care and make healthcare more affordable.

Whether the recent overhaul can fix this country’s uneven and expensive healthcare system is not yet known.

It’s just not acceptable for children in this or any country to die before they’ve had a chance to live. Here’s what can be done to reduce child mortality rates around the world. We must ensure that everyone in need has access to:

  • Vaccines
  • Soap
  • Basic health education – hygiene, nutrition, prevention
  • Safe water
  • Sanitation/toilets
  • Breastfeeding
  • Improved pre/neo/postneonatal care
  • Antibiotics
  • Insecticide-treated bed nets
  • Micronutrient supplementation

Buy a net for someone, educate your neighbor on immunizations, encourage new moms to breastfeed. We can all do one thing and by doing it, we’ll help kids have a chance at life.