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  • Writer's pictureCaterina Sullivan

All That I Need is the Air That I Breathe

Updated: Nov 3, 2018

Image credit: Cambridge Brewing Co.

So I’m trying to write this article, and all I can hear in my head is The Hollies’ "The Air That I Breathe." If you don’t know the song, you probably need to look it up. It’s pretty awesome.

But not as awesome as this.

Image: Helping Babies Breathe

This program was created to support Millennium Development Goal 4: Reduce child mortality for children under 5 years of age by two-thirds by 2015.

Raw data from the World Bank suggests the world came pretty close to achieving this goal. Child mortality has decreased approximately 65% since 2000.

But let’s not be too hasty to celebrate. There are other figures to consider. 4 out of every 5 child deaths occur in Sub-Saharan Africa or South-East Asia. On top of that, children born into poverty are almost twice as likely to die before age 5 than children born into wealthier families.

This is where Helping Babies Breathe steps in. This program has been adopted by governments in 52 countries and has provided training for 300,000 medical practitioners. The whole idea is to educate those in the medical industry about how to perform newborn resuscitation. In 2010, experts predicted 30% of newborn deaths could be prevented through resuscitation; however, only one-eighth of that 30% had access to practitioners trained in this method.

Since implementing the program, the results have been fantastic according to a recent report.

Take Tanzania for example: In just two years of the program being implemented, early neonatal death was reduced by 47% and stillbirth was reduced by 24%.

This is a MASSIVE impact.

Image credit: Christina Rutz

What does this mean for the future? Well, at the end of September, heads of government from all over the world will meet to commit to the Global Goals, a set of targets that will guide international development for the next 15 years.. These goals are currently in the proposal stage, but it looks like there’s good news for child health. Goal 3.2 has been proposed to be to end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years by 2030. The Helping Babies Breathe program takes a small but significant aspect of this goal and makes it a reality.

The program has its own goal: to reduce newborn mortality rates to 12 per 1,000 live births by 2030. The current statistic for this is 26 per 1,000 live births. This means the program aims to reduce child mortality rates by over half. Looking at the statistics over the last 15 years, this can be accomplished. But it still needs your help.

If you want to see the world achieve proposed Global Goal 3.2, world leaders need to start considering the needs of a large group of infants around the world.… And The Hollies put it best…

Air and love.

This article was originally published on the Global Citizen website.


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