Every year, lack of healthcare causes 6.6 million children to die of preventable causes like diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia before the age of five1. About half of that number occur in just five countries: India, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and China.
Although significantly improved – from over 10 million fatalities in 2006– more still needs to be done. There are 18,082 child deaths every day. That is 12 deaths every minute.
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Nearly 300,000 women die from complications during pregnancy or childbirth annually, resulting in their children becoming ten times more likely to die before their fifth birthday.2
In developing countries, there are barely enough doctors. When a mother is unable to deliver, her tissues would have rotted by the time help arrived, resulting in nerve damage and the baby’s death. Besides suffering under unfair gender and societal dynamics, poor healthcare stems from causes like:
- Poor access to healthcare including lack of skilled attendants.
- Poor knowledge about care for children.
- Limited education about preventable diseases
- Difficulty maintaining immunisations
- Low levels of government funding
Raju Devi Saud, 30, has a heart-wrenching past, filled with atrocities many mothers would not be able to conceive as possible. In 2004, she lost her first baby eight months into the pregnancy. Unfazed, she tried again a year later, and managed to deliver twin sons, only to watch them suffer and die the next day. Finally succeeding in her third delivery, she had a daughter for two and half years, but eventually lost her to rabies from a stray dog bite.
While all in a developing community require assistance, the following are in more critical need:
Poor women living in rural regions
Maternal health gets minimal attention simply because it happens to powerless and voiceless women. A staggering 99% of maternal deaths during childbirth occur in developing nations.1
During childbirth, the fatality risk for girls aged 15 to 19 is twice that of women in their 20s.2 This increases fivefold for girls under 15.3 When cultural, social or financial circumstances force early marriage and child-bearing, these girls risk both the lives of their babies and their own.
In the hardest-hit area of sub-Saharan Africa, infected parents await their death as their children take care of them while surviving on little or no food. With the middle generation being wiped out, child-headed households are ill-equipped to fuel the economy.
There is an increasing need to deliver prevention education and provide HIV/AIDS healthcare to affected communities, due to poverty, unemployment, lack of education, prostitution, sexual abuse, and even oppression of women.
Two-thirds of the 34 million people living with HIV/AIDS globally come from sub-Saharan Africa.4 Approximately 2.1 million youths (15 to 19 years old) live with the disease, and about two-thirds of new infections affect girls.5
1World Health Organization, 2014
3International Center for Research on Women, 2010