A Proactive Approach To Reaching And Treating Children Suffering From Malnutrition
The World Health Organization (WHO) provides the following key facts on child mortality.
- 9 million children under the age of 5 died in 2015.
- More than half of these early child deaths are due to conditions that could be prevented or treated with access to simple, affordable interventions.
- About 45% of all child deaths are linked to malnutrition.
- Children in sub-Saharan Africa are more than 14 times more likely to die before the age of 5 than children in developed regions.
These, surely, are alarming figures and the WHO’s subsequent statement citing “substantial global progress … in reducing child deaths since 1990” provides some comfort but does not erase the need for urgent intervention on the behalf of the world’s most vulnerable citizens.
The progress of which the WHO speaks, is a decline of approximately 53% in the number of under-5 deaths worldwide between 1990 and 2015. In real numbers, it represents 19,000 children whose lives have been saved, daily. It is reason for celebration, yes. But it is also reason for further interventions to be put in place – to save the lives of the other 16,000 children in danger of dying every single day.
Tackling malnutrition is one way to do this but there are obstacle in the way. Among these obstacles are
- conflict in regions where the children live
- limited means of transportation
- too few facilities and medical personnel that can provide the type of assistance needed
- cost to families to reach the help their children need to live
Treatment and food need to be brought to the children instead of the other way around as currently exists in many places.
Charities have the ability to do this and should be made to play a greater role in this effort. Charities integrate with communities at the ground level and have earned the trust of those they serve. Giving them the tools and resources to train and treat can literally be the difference between life and death for thousands of children.