WASHINGTON, D.C. – The number of children dying before the age of five has dropped significantly over the past twenty years. However, there are still seven million children who will die prematurely this year. The largest contributing factor to newborn and early child deaths is income inequality, according to the organization Save the Children. The group warns that extremely low income households should be a concern in developed as well as in developing countries.
The solution to further reducing child mortality is to focus on public health and equal access to healthcare. According to Sara Stulac, deputy chief medical officer for Partners in Health, numerous studies have discovered low cost ways of effectively reducing these numbers. The problem, she says, lies in executing the effective strategies.
Save the Children discovered that, among 50 developing countries, the poorest fifth of the population who reproduced were 40% more likely to see their children die before his or her fifth birthday, as compared to children born in wealthy families. In a select number of countries, this statistic is even worse. The income and newborn health gap is so bad in Bolivia that babies born in poor families are three times more likely to die than those with wealthy families.
Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children, urges health and aid organizations to be concerned less with which countries poor babies are born in and instead focus on reaching children all over the world. Whether this be in the United States or Kenya, Save the Children reminds us that income inequality exists everywhere.
As technology continues to improve medical conditions and healthcare clinics grow in developing countries, more babies celebrating their fifth birthdays. However, many women still do not have access to healthcare providers because cannot afford to visit them or live too far away. Save the Children advises health organizations to open small clinics in rural areas to ensure that all women and children have access to healthcare. By reaching out to poor women, more of their lives, as well as their children’s lives, may be saved.
– Mary Penn
Source: CS Monitor