I can’t comprehend carrying a child for the better part of a year, only to lose her from complications in the days after her birth. I know many of you have experienced such loss, and are among those who have lived first hand through one of the 43 percent of child deaths that occur during a baby’s first month of life. More than a third of those deaths happen on the first day — which translates to more than 1 million babies each year.
Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children says, “If we really want to drive down the number of child deaths overall, we have to move that newborn number faster.”
It is statistically more dangerous to be a woman or a child in the Democratic Republic of Congo than it is to be an armed fighter in that country. Coming in as the second worst place in the world to be a mother, it is only slightly safer than Somalia, ranked last in this year’s State of the World’s Mothers report from Save the Children.
Reporter Alexandra Sifferlin on Time.com highlights key facts from the report: one particularly sobering note is that the United States, once in the top 10 back in 2000, is now number 30 on the list of the best places to be a mother.
According to TIME, “Miles says the interventions that are going to be most effective are not high-tech and do not require cutting-edge hospitals or doctors to administer them. “Some of the success stories are in some of the poorest countries,” says Miles. “Look at places like Nepal, where they are really driving down those newborn deaths. That is a country with pretty simple interventions.”
Clean razor blades and antibiotic creams for umbilical cord care, steroid injections to build up a baby’s lungs if the mother is in pre-term labor, resuscitation devices and training to help babies breathe and antibiotics to fight infection and pneumonia in newborns — all these are key interventions we have the know-how to deliver around the world.
The State of the World’s Mothers report gives a roadmap to implementing those solutions so that every mother has the chance to take her baby home, happy and healthy, and safely in her arms. As it should be for all of us.