Save the Children on their #FirstDay

PD_0273I realize I am literally one of the most fortunate women on earth. For each of my four births both my baby and I received the medical care we needed.

My first son needed intervention and was born using assistance. My body’s birth damage was treated instantly and monitored while during healing. My second son was born after months of bed rest on my part. His placenta was both low and partially separated from the uterus from his twelfth week of gestation on. With my first daughter, I had edema. My second daughter I had bradycardia immediately after her birth. My heart rate was under 30 beats a minute for a while.

Though I consider my children’s birth to have been relatively easy because I didn’t need a C-section and they emerged into the world pink and healthy, I know the medical care was a huge part of why I have healthy, living children now.

Today I read a new report on global newborn health from Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children. She says:

"The first day of a child’s life is the most dangerous, and too many mothers give birth alone on the floor of their home or in the bush without any life-saving help. We hear horror stories of mothers walking for hours during labor to find trained help, all too often ending in tragedy.

"It’s criminal that many of these deaths could be averted simply if there was someone on hand to make sure the birth took place safely and who knew what to do in a crisis."

Did you know each year, 40 million women give birth without trained help? In Ethiopia, only 10 percent of birthing mothers are attended by skilled attendants, while parts of Afghanistan have only midwife for 10,000 women.

I see now at the crisis point in my first birth, the medical care I had prevented a spiral that could have ended in the death of my son and possibly me. The most basic care I had is not available to most of the women of the world.

The most dangerous day of a child’s life is the first one. Every year one million babies die on the day they are born. Another 1.2 million babies die during birth before taking even one breath.

Save the Children is calling on world leaders, philanthropists and the private sector to meet and commit to the Five Point Newborn Promise in 2014:

  1. Issue a defining and accountable declaration to end all preventable newborn mortality, saving 2 million newborn lives a year and stopping the 1.2 million stillbirths during labor
  2. Ensure that by 2025 every birth is attended by trained and equipped health workers who can deliver essential newborn health interventions
  3. Increase expenditure on health to at least the WHO minimum of US$60 per person
  4. To pay for the training, equipping and support of health workers, and remove user fees for all maternal, newborn and child health services, including emergency obstetric care
  5. The private sector, including pharmaceutical companies, should help address unmet needs by developing innovative solutions and increasing availability for the poorest to new and existing products for maternal, newborn and child health.
    If you’d like to learn more and find out what you can do to reduce global birth mortality, read more about advocacy and how you can donate. I’m writing this on behalf of Save the Children and Mom Bloggers for Social Good, but feel free to find and support any group you prefer to help women hold a healthy baby in her arms.
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