Tag Archives: UNICEF

[Photos in B&W] Historical Look at Child and Newborn Health in the US

There is a long tradition of newborn and child healthcare in the United States and around the world for that matter. See photos below. From 1900 – 1997 the child mortality rate decreased more than 90% in the United States – a laudable national health achievement.  Now there is an accelerated global move to save more newborn lives around the world given the knowledge and interventions that can keep more newborns alive in countries where the newborn mortality rate is absurdly high.

UNICEF and the World Health Organization has led a new movement to draft the Every Newborn Action Plan that will create a roadmap to lower the newborn mortality rate across the board to effectively reduce the overall child mortality rate. Through February 28 you can add your thoughts and ideas about the plan on the World Health Organization web site.

Without a national plan, strength of will, resources, and national participation the child mortality rate in the United States might not have improved as rapidly as it did. This shows that indeed improvements can be made in child and newborn survival rates when everyone is on the same page. Changes will not happen overnight, to be sure, but they will happen when steps are made in the right direction.

Read and comment on the Every Newborn Action Plan.

Nurse Aiko Hamaguchi, mother Frances Yokoyama, baby Fukomoto, Manzanar Relocation Center, California
Nurse Aiko Hamaguchi, mother Frances Yokoyama, baby Fukomoto, Manzanar Relocation Center, California. Ansel Adams
Baby in the nursey at the Cairns General Hospital at the FSA (Farm Security Administration) farm workers' community. Eleven Mile Corner, Arizona
Baby in the nursey at the Cairns General Hospital at the FSA (Farm Security Administration) farm workers’ community. Eleven Mile Corner, Arizona
Russell Lee
Nurse weighs baby in the nursery of the Cairns General Hospital at the FSA (Farm Security Administration) farm workers' community. Eleven Mile Corner, Arizona. Russel Lee
Nurse weighs baby in the nursery of the Cairns General Hospital at the FSA (Farm Security Administration) farm workers’ community. Eleven Mile Corner, Arizona. Russel Lee
Chicago, Illinois. Provident Hospital. Miss Irene Hill, nurse technician, taking baby to be x-rayed. Jack Delano
Chicago, Illinois. Provident Hospital. Miss Irene Hill, nurse technician, taking baby to be x-rayed. Jack Delano
Photo shows "Junior Sea Breeze" a summer hospital for babies run by the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor, supported by John D. Rockefeller. The hospital was located at 64th Street and the East River, New York City.
Photo shows “Junior Sea Breeze” a summer hospital for babies run by the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor, supported by John D. Rockefeller. The hospital was located at 64th Street and the East River, New York City. Bain News Service.
Doctors examining baby whose parents have just brought him into the clinic at the Negro hospital. Chicago, Illinois. Russel Lee
Doctors examining baby whose parents have just brought him into the clinic at the Negro hospital. Chicago, Illinois. Russel Lee
At the well baby clinic at the Cairns General Hospital at the FSA (Farm Security Administration) farm workers' community. The well baby clinic meets once a week and babies are weighed, measured, and others given instructions as to their care, feeding, etc. Three of those babies were born at the Cairns Hospital. Eleven Mile Corner, Arizona
At the well baby clinic at the Cairns General Hospital at the FSA (Farm Security Administration) farm workers’ community. The well baby clinic meets once a week and babies are weighed, measured, and others given instructions as to their care, feeding, etc. Three of those babies were born at the Cairns Hospital. Eleven Mile Corner, Arizona
Babies and child care - doctor examining babies on Recreation Pier, E. 24th St., N.Y.C. - N.Y. Health Board supervising care of babies in hot weather
Babies and child care – doctor examining babies on Recreation Pier, E. 24th St., N.Y.C. – N.Y. Health Board supervising care of babies in hot weather

Credits

Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-A35-5-M-4
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-USF34- 071888-D
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-USF34- 071908-D
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-USW3- 000544-D
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ggbain-09828
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-USF34-038660-D
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-USF34-071858-D
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-72011

Can Data Keep Children Alive?

Today UNICEF released its annual State of the World’s Children report and this year they have placed a heavy emphasis on the data. In its report UNICEF says that when children are counted they automatically matter. We share their sentiments wholeheartedly. When children are counted then programs can be created and implemented to help them stay alive and healthy.

Health workers measure and record the height and weight of Erlan Bernoupereinev, 3, at his home, in Kindik Uzyak Village in the Konlikul District, Republic of Karakalpaksta
Health workers measure and record the height and weight of Erlan Bernoupereinev, 3, at his home, in Kindik Uzyak Village in the Konlikul District, Republic of Karakalpaksta

Take into consideration, for example, that poor children are 2.7 times less likely to be born with a skilled birth attendant. This, of course, means that more poor children around the world die due to circumstances that can easily be prevented because of interventions that work.

Consider that 11% of girls around the world are married before they are 15. This means more young girls die during childbirth. And, if they make it past childbirth they have a lesser chance of getting an education and even less of a chance of making sure their daughters get an education.

Also, think about this: Only 4% of babies born in Nigeria are registered at birth compared to 56% of babies in richer nations. Being registered means that babies are important and matter.

“Data have made it possible to save and improve the lives of millions of children, especially the most deprived,” said Tessa Wardlaw, Chief of UNICEF’s Data and Analytics Section. “Further progress can only be made if we know which children are the most neglected, where girls and boys are out of school, where disease is rampant or where basic sanitation is lacking.”

A health worker records the weight of a girl while she lies on a scale at the Kenema government hospital in Kenema, Kenema district, Sierra Leone on Monday September 23, 2013.
A health worker records the weight of a girl while she lies on a scale at the Kenema government hospital in Kenema, Kenema district, Sierra Leone on Monday September 23, 2013.

There is good news, however. Because of data 90 million more children live now than in 1990. There has been a 37% reduction in stunting rates around the world and more children are in primary school now than ever before.

So, yes, data does help keep children alive because without measured data and health trends there would be no starting or ending point to keep children alive and thriving.

Visit www.unicef.org/sowc2014/numbers to see a multimedia site with more data and to download the report.

Monday Morning Reads

During the weekend we read global news articles worth reading from media outlets ranging from the New York Times to the Guardian. If you would like to bookmark some of these articles we recommend using Instapaper or Evernote for future reading.

Direct from NGOs

  • The amount of violence against children  in the Central African Republic is increasing steadily amid the sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims. UNICEF says children have been beheaded, mutilated, and are being recruited into war.  Read: Children Being Brutalized in the Central African Republic.
  • UNAIDS has published a PDF with a rundown of HIV/AIDS statistics from 2013. This is definitely a PDF worth bookmarking for future reference.
  • There are over 100,000 people who have sought refuge at the airport in Bangui due to the increased violence in Central African Republic’s capital city. Doctors Without Borders has announced they have had to decrease services because the violence is so bad.

Photo

Security Council Authorizes African Union Mission in Central African Republic

The Security Council unanimously adopts resolution 2127 (2013), authorizing the deployment of the “African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic” (to be known as MISCA), for a period of twelve months. The Council also authorized support of MISCA by French forces. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard
05 December 2013

[Photos] Inside a Malaria Treatment Center

I have been told enough harrowing personal stories and have read enough reports to understand contracting malaria isn’t a cakewalk. And for children (especially those under the age of five) and expectant mothers malaria can be deadly. Fortunately with rapid diagnosis and malaria treatments children as well as adults can experience speedy recoveries from a disease that is both debilitating and potentially fatal.

While in Zambia last month I visited the Chongwe District Hospital in Lusaka province with Malaria No More to see how robust malaria control efforts funded by the Zambian government, USAID, the Global Fund and other NGOs and private foundations have helped drastically reduced the number of child deaths in the country. Zambia has effectively reduced the number of malaria deaths to 8000 annually through prevention measures including mass distributions of mosquito nets, indoor residual spraying, fogging, and spraying of mosquito-infected areas like bogs and dambos (shallow wetlands). The annual deaths have also been reduced because of the mass test and treatment programs that are being administered by frontline health workers around the country. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these deaths are children under the age of five because their immune systems cannot fight off the disease without the help of a positive diagnosis and follow-up medications.

In Zambia 50% of children are admitted to hospitals due to malaria according to UNICEF. You must also understand that being admitted to a hospital means that frontline health care didn’t work and that hospital care is necessary. In Zambia as well as in most developing countries, most healthcare is done on the local level. Most severe cases are referred to hospitals as was the case of these three children I met in the Chongwe District Hospital located about an hour outside of Lusaka.

While malaria is wholly preventable and treatable some children still struggle getting better when they contract the infectious disease. This little boy was extremely sick, but was steadily getting better. I took his picture as he slept with the permission of his mother who was sitting lovingly at his side.

Chongwe District Hospital Chongwe District Hospital
This little boy played with his mother’s hands and reached to breastfeed as he laid beside her. He had one of the sweetest faces I’ve ever seen and was quickly on the mend from his bout of malaria.
Chongwe District Hospital This little boy, who was snuggled with his mother, was also feeling better than before, but was quite lethargic. There are stages children have to go through to get better. Doctors had a positive prognosis for his eventual improvement. Chongwe District Hospital

By 2015, Zambia has a goal of having 100% of malaria cases are diagnosed and treated with Coartem on the community and health post level. While that goal hasn’t been achieved yet, Zambia with the expertise of Path’s MACEPA program and countrywide campaigns such as Power of One is helping Zambia steadily stand behind its commitment.

[Photos] Motherhood in Tanzania #IRPTZ

Dar es Saalam, Tanzania – Throughout my travels in Tanzania for the past ten days every time I saw a mother and her baby I smiled inside. And I was even more happy to see mothers breastfeeding their babies as breastfeeding has been proven to be a key intervention to keep more children under the age of five alive in developing countries.

Maasai Mother - Mkuru

Tanzania, unfortunately, is one of ten countries where 65 percent of the world’s child deaths occur. Compared to India, the country with the most child deaths at nearly 900,000 per year, Tanzania’s child mortality rate is low, but for it’s population size, the percentage is quite high.

Mother and Daughter in Morogoro, Tanzania

Tanzanian mothers lose 48,000 children a year (17,000 on the first day of life). Most newborns die due to asphyxia, infections, and preterm birth here. Additionally, the maternal mortality rate in Tanzania strongly correlates to the child mortality rate. In Tanzania, maternal anemia rates due to malnutrition are leading to 20 percent of all maternal deaths. And in the rural areas, where most Tanzanians live, expectant mothers typically do not have a trained birth attendant to help deliver babies and only 50 percent of Tanzanian mothers give birth in a health facility. These factors contribute to the high maternal and newborn mortality rate. In fact, Tanzania loses 454 mothers per 100,000 live births due to complications during childbirth.

Mother and Daughter in Morogoro, Tanzania

There is good news, however. The Tanzanian government is including key interventions to reduce child mortality included in its National Road Map Strategic Plan to Accelerate Reductions of Maternal, Newborn and Child Births which was devised in 2008 and has an end date of 2015 to reach Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5. While the child mortality rate in
Tanzania is improving, maternal mortality rates have remained stagnant.

Mothers, Iringa

Mother and Daughter in Morogoro, Tanzania

Mother and Son in Iringa, Tanzania

Sources

UNICEF
Save the Children

Reporting was made possible by a fellowship from the International Reporting Project.

All photos copyright of Jennifer James