According to the United States Fund for UNICEF President and CEO Caryl M. Stern’s latest letter, “Every day, 18,000 children under five die of things we can prevent.” That’s a startling figure! And although the under-five child mortality rate in the world has been practically cut in half in the past few years, there are still areas where we can do better, where we can work with each other to lower the child mortality rate. In war-torn areas, the rate of childhood death caused by violence, accident and infectious diseases is high. Hunger and severe poverty around the world are also killers of young children. One would think that in 2013 we should be able to do better by our young.
Recently, I learned about a petition to the President by Unicef, “Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed” Pledge to help every country in the world reach a child mortality rate of 20 deaths or fewer per 1,000 live births by the year 2035. In my book, that is a worthwhile commitment. And among the efforts that contribute to lowering childhood deaths in developing countries are providing:
Lifesaving vaccines and insecticide-treated bed nets,
Emergency relief following natural disasters, and
Educational opportunities and providing educational materials.
But there is so much more to be done, even in the United States, to share information with each other and be informed about childhood survival. BeSafeChild.org’s mission is to educate and inform families how to help prevent accidents in the home and at school; to encourage parents to nurture and pay attention to their children–especially to their health needs, such as scheduling regular immunizations at the beginning of the school year which help reduce the spread of infectious diseases throughout communities.
Every small thing we can do to help keep parents, family members and caregivers informed about child safety and health, we hope, sends positive ripples to families and communities to ultimately benefit children–which we even dare hope might lower those childhood mortality figures!