Under the photo of a sweet, sleeping newborn, the headline of UNICEF’s report is as shocking as it is heartbreaking.
“7,000 newborn babies are dying every day.”
Seven thousand. That’s roughly 210,000 a month and more than 2.5 million a year. Nearly half of all deaths under the age of 5 occur in the newborn period. If these numbers seem sobering, so too is the realization that most of these deaths— nearly 80%, according to the report—are from treatable conditions such as sepsis, meningitis and pneumonia.
But there is some good news. From 1990-2016, the global rate of children dying before their fifth birthday dropped by more than half. The United States has played a large part in helping mothers and children access quality health services. With continued leadership from the U.S. and other nations, ending preventable newborn and child deaths is within reach.
So how can we protect our littlest global citizens? The UNICEF study highlighted four ways:
1) expanded access to health services;
2) higher quality service;
3) clean, functional health facilities and
4) well-trained health-care practitioners.
Though these may seem obvious, such simple interventions can—and do—make a big impact.
This is why we’re working to raise awareness, conduct research and invest in innovative solutions that can save these lives.
For example, members of Congress introduced the bipartisan Reach Every Mother and Child Act (S. 1730, H.R.4022), which would increase access to the low-cost, high-impact approaches that help save lives in countries that need them most. It would enable the U.S. to save 15 million children from preventable deaths. To date, more than 130 members of Congress from both parties have cosponsored the bill—but we need to secure more to show even more support for the legislation.
You can help by urging your legislators to make saving the lives of babies and children around the world a priority. You can also urge Congress to support robust funding for maternal and child heath. After all, we owe our future generation the chance to live, grow and succeed. Only by working together can we see more headlines that reflect encouraging success, not heartbreaking statistics.