For a few years, the State of the World s
Children report had drawn worldwide attention to the fact that just four relatively
simple and inexpensive methods could now enable parents themselves to have the rate of
child deaths and save the lives of up to 20,000 children each day. In brief, those methods
- which could help mothers to prevent most child malnutrition
before it begins. With the help of a U.S. 10-cent growth chart, and basic advice on
weaning, most mothers could maintain their childs healthy growth - even within their
limited resources. More than 200 different growth charts are coming into over 80
- which could save most of the more than 4 million young
children who now die each year from diarrhoeal dehydration. One out of every 20 children born into the
developing world dies due to dehydration brought on by ordinary diarrhoea, before reaching
the age of 5. It is the biggest single cause of child deaths in developing countries.
Previously, the only effective treatment for dehydration was the intravenous feeding of a
saline solution - a cure beyond the physical and financial reach of most of those who need
it. Now a child can be rehydrated by drinking a solution of salts, sugar and
water administered by the mother in the child’s own home. Most of these children
could be saved by this simple Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT). It is one of the
simplest but most important breakthroughs in the history of science.
- which can ensure that
infants have the best possible food and a considerable degree of immunity from common
infections during the first six month of life. For infants, breast-milk is more
nutritious, more hygienic, and provides a degree of immunity from infection. For the
mother, breast-feeding is economical - but it also makes heavy demands on her
energy, time, and freedom of movement.
- which can
protect a child against measles, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, tuberculosis, and
polio. At present, these diseases kill as estimated 5 million young children a year, leave
5 million more disabled, and are a major cause of child malnutrition.
In addition, recent
research in the developing world has highlighted three kinds of support for women. These
changes are sometimes known as the three Fs:
Even within low-income communities, a child born to a mother with no education
has been shown to be twice as likely to die in infancy as a child born to a
mother with even four years of schooling.
Infant and child deaths have been found to be, on average, twice as high when
the interval between births is less than two years.
A handful of extra food each day for at-risk pregnant women has been shown to
reduce the risk of low birth-weight - a risk which carries with it a two or
three times greater likelihood of death in infancy.
THROUGH UNICEFS GOBI-FFF PROGRAM
We are now taking about a particular opportunity to save the lives of
approximately 7 million young children a year, and to protect the normal
development of many millions more, at a cost which certainly does not exceed a
fraction of 1% of the world’s gross international product. If the will to accept
that challenge is missing, then perhaps it will never be there. For in all
realism, it is unlikely opportunity to do so much for so many, and for so
little. Now is the time to act, now is the time to create. Now is the time for
us to live in a way that will give life to others. Without you, Hunger persists.
With you, Humankind’s worst enemy can be eliminate, forever.