Tuesday, 14 February 2012
I read a very interesting article titled: "Is India Doing Enough For Its Children?". The first article paints a very sad picture to the reader, stating that a 17 year old mother was taken to a wooden shack moments after giving birth to her premature son. Since she belonged to a poor community, which believes a woman to be impure moments after giving birth, neither the poor woman, nor her son received any medical treatment, causing the newborn to die just two month after birth.
Even though India has improved economically over the years, the article points out that they hold a shocking 20% of the world’s mortality in children.
Even more shockingly, the article points out, half of these deaths occur within the first month of birth. Since both, the mothers and children lack nutrition, this is one of the main reasons for such high mortality rates.
Surprisingly, the malnutrition problem in India is three times more severe than that of Ethiopia, nevertheless, Ethiopia has lower mortality rates of its children as compared to India, therefore there has to be another leading factor that contributes to such great losses.
Over the years the mortality of children under the age of 5 decreased, but as the article states, the numbers are still far from India’s goal for 2015. The same trend is seen in other countries that have large populations as well as increased poverty as compared to the rest of the world. Poverty and lack of education for the mothers seems to be among the highest contributors to India’s high mortality rates between children. More well of places in India do not suffer from these horrendous losses.
As many as 80% of the Indian population were not aware of such a pressing issue going on in their country. Key contributors to such high mortality rates in India seem to be the cultural aspect, deeming birth as unclean, hence allowing it to happen in unclean facilities without proper training; as well as, lacking of nutrition. It is told in the article that the young mother was escorted to give birth in a cow's shed, aligned with cows dung, which many Indians believe purifies childbirth.
The article concludes, that in India it is normal for a woman to loose a few babies before finally having one child reach adulthood. As noted in the article, many poor communities suffer similar consequences. Lack of education derails people’s ability to understand such delicate procedures as childbirth, deeming it unclean and exposing both new mother and newborn to harsh bacteria and diseases by not providing clean, trained facilities.
The world needs to move forward in educating these societies and providing training, as well as, clean facilities to ensure health and safety of both the mother, and the child. Although there are many extremist societies, which believe in “nature taking its course”, the world should not be turning its shoulder on the countries in high need of proper education, training and equipment.
What do you think? Is there anything we can do to help out?