The Child Survival Resolution
UNICEF, the United Nations children’s Fund, is at work in 112 developing countries where hunger, Poverty, and illiteracy persist and disrupt the daily lives of approximately one billion children. In these countries, over five hundred million children’s mothers of young children live in absolute poverty, without health care and without access to clean water or to proper sanitation.
Recent medical and, social break through haw, made possible four important low-cost preventive techniques and cures which, within a decade, could be helping to save the lives of 20,000 children a day and in improving the health of hundreds of millions of children. Reductions in the rate of child deaths will, in turn, curb population growth since, as parents become more confident that their existing children can survive, they tend to have fewer children.
UNICEF is encouraging developing countries to apply these four lives saving techniques on a national scale in the context of primary healthcare. They are :
1. Growth Monitoring – The use of growth-monitoring charts provides a highly effective “early-warning” system to detect signs of malnutrition. Even an illiterate mother can easily keep a monthly record of her baby’s weight and height on these charts.
2. Oral Rehydration – Therapy – This salt and glucose mixture when mixed with water can be administered to a child suffering from diarrhea dehydration – the number one child killer. This mixture can be manufactured locally very cheaply, or can be made up in the home from the right proportions of sugar, salt and water.
3. Breastfeeding – Because of the nutritional and immunological properties of a healthy mother’s milk, infants who breastfed for more than six months are five to ten times less likely to die in the second six months of life than those who are not breastfed. Breastfeeding can also a significant saving to lo – income families, both in terms of child’s health and survival and the family earnings.
4. Immunization – Millions of children die each year from lack of immunizations. More heat stable vaccines are now available. These vaccines, which do not require continuous refrigeration and which cost as little as 10 cents each, can extend the reach of immunization campaigns to millions more children. Work is underway to improve and extend immunizations against all major child-killing disease.