Since 2001, Malawi has achieved a 29 percent decline in newborn deaths—from 19,000 per year to 17,000 per year in 2010. In those 10 years, Save the Children, with the support of its many donors, has made significant contributions toward this achievement.Teaching Others How to Save a LifeSave the Children and partners have trained and supported over 1,700 frontline health workers—often people with little formal education but who are respected in their communities. These health workers counsel mothers, detect life-threatening conditions in newborns and refer them to health facilities when necessary. Today, frontline health workers deliver community-based maternal and newborn care in nearly two-thirds of Malawi’s districts.Caring for a New BabyLocal customs can sometimes be at odds with what is best for baby and mother, which is why Save the Children promotes and teaches essential newborn care. It starts with prenatal care and includes checkups for newborns in the first two days after birth, when most newborns are at greatest risk. Frontline health workers also educate mothers and caregivers in how to care for their newborns. Today, essential newborn care provides the foundation for Save the Children’s newborn health programs in 18 countries.Saving Babies Born Too Early or Too Small“Kangaroo Mother Care” is the whimsical name for an effective way to care for low birth weight and preterm babies. Wrapping a baby skin-to-skin against its mother’s chest (like a kangaroo’s pouch), keeps it warm, encourages breastfeeding and bonding, and prevents infections. Save the Children has promoted Kangaroo Mother Care in Malawi since 2002, and today more than 100 health facilities use this approach. We are working with the government of Malawi to take this practice nationwide.Additional funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is allowingSave the Children to analyze results and lessons learned from Malawi’s decade-long program and continue to promote newborn health around the world.
Melinda Gates in MalawiIn 2010, Melinda Gates visited a district hospital supported by Save the Children in Dowa, Malawi, where Save the Children has trained frontline health workers. Here is a brief excerpt of her assessment of that visit.
“I also visited one of the cities there, Dowa, where the women are going into the facilities just as the government has told them. In fact, the women are going up to four weeks ahead of the birth of their baby. That’s really important because they are then avoiding birth complications that might happen to them out in the village or on the road. I met about 40 women who were waiting at the Dowa district hospital, and it was so interesting to talk to these women. They are such palpable evidence of the real impact these changes are having. And I literally saw mothers and babies that would not be alive today if it weren’t for the improvements that Malawi has been making in these areas.”
Listen to Melinda Gates’ complete impressions of her visit to Malawi atwww.gatesfoundation.org/videos.
Thanks to your support, Save the Children is inspiring breakthroughs in the way the world treats children, and achieving immediate and lasting change in children’s lives by ensuring that they are safe, educated and healthy.
Raya, a 14-year-old Egyptian girl, had always dreamed of attending school, but her father did not believe that women should have a role outside of the home. While reaching manhood is an empowering transition for boys, in many parts of the world, womanhood is quite the opposite.
One hundred million girls in developing countries are taken out of school early to become wives and mothers, with the result that, globally, more than 529 million women are illiterate. This is a great waste of human potential, and the evidence strongly supports the fact that empowering adolescent girls is the key to lifting families out of poverty, empowering communities and perhaps changing the course of an entire nation.
Save the Children is opening doors for girls in more than 15 countries by increasing their access to education, sexual and reproductive health, and training in financial literacy and life skills. One successful program for girls is Ishraq in Egypt.
Ishraq (meaning ‘enlightenment’ in Arabic) is a “second chance” program for out-of-school adolescent girls, most of whom have never attended school or are illiterate. More than 1,000 girls who participate in Ishraq literacy classes are eager to learn: In 2010, 83 percent of the graduates passed the government literacy test and 67 percent entered formal education programs. Save the Children is now working to bring Ishraq to more than 300 youth centers across the country.
When the Save the Children program promoter came to Raya’s house to tell the family about Ishraq, Raya was thrilled. At first, her father said no, but he eventually relented when Raya’s uncle joined the chorus. Raya has become the first literate female in her family and her father is proud. “Now I am a better person because I know how to read and write, thanks to Ishraq,” she said.
Save the Children’s goal is to bring girls out of the shadows. Through Ishraq and similar Save the Children programs worldwide, girls have the opportunity to achieve their full social and economic potential.
Charitable contributions from people like you make it possible for us to support programs for girls like Selena, and so much more. Please support our mission and work around the world with a gift to our Global Action Fund. You can count on us to be good stewards of your generous donation, helping vulnerable children where the need is greatest with whatever they need the most.
Dear friends and supporters,
It is both exciting and humbling to assume the leadership of Save the Children this month from the extraordinarily capable hands of Dr. Charles MacCormack. Since I joined this remarkable organization almost 14 years ago, I’ve also had the good fortune to work with many of you to help realize our strategic vision for the world’s children.
Whether saving newborns and young children from pneumonia, diarrhea and other treatable diseases or restoring a child’s sense of security in the aftermath of tornadoes and other disasters in the United States and elsewhere, Save the Children is there to help, thanks to you.
After visiting our programs in almost 50 countries, it’s clear to me that your contributions are making a difference in the lives of children around the world.
Just recently I was in Malawi, where I met a young mother named Madalitso Masa. A community health worker trained by Save the Children taught her how to prepare women for a healthy pregnancy. She also learned to educate mothers about good eating habits, breastfeeding and other ways they can ensure their children get a good start in life.
With her son, Patience, sleeping in a cotton sling on her back, she told me how committed she is to giving back to her community. Now she and her husband, Chisomo, are both health workers delivering lifesaving treatments to the mothers and children in their village.
In May of this year, we launched Results for Children to share stories like the one about Madalitso, who is bringing hope to children and families facing the most challenging conditions. We also dedicated a part of our website to sharing those stories, so you can see the impact you’re having on the lives of children from Alabama to Afghanistan—because you decided to invest in Save the Children with your money, your time and, most importantly, your heart. Take a look at www.savethechildren.org/results to see for yourself.
We have ambitious goals that range from expanding our education and health initiatives for American children in need to all 50 states, to creating national movements that change the way governments around the world address maternal and newborn child mortality. We will continue to do our very best to help children everywhere, and we want you to be our partner. Because ensuring that children grow up and have a life worth living matters most to all of us.
President & CEO
Save the Children’s State of the World’s Mothers ranks 164 countries on women’s access to health care, education and opportunities. Norway is the world’s best place to be a mother, and eight of the 10 top-ranked countries are in Western Europe. The remaining two are in the southern hemisphere, with Australia ranking second and New Zealand eighth.
This year, the United States ranks 31st of 44 developed countries, dropping three spots from last year’s rankings. Meanwhile, eight of the world’s 10 worst countries to be a mother are in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, the worst place in the world to be a mother is Afghanistan.
Despite ongoing conflict and rising civilian casualties, expecting mothers in Afghanistan are at least 200 times more likely to die during childbirth than from bombs or bullets. One in 11 Afghan women will die from pregnancy or childbirth complications in her lifetime and only 14 percent of mothers in the country give birth with help from any kind of skilled health worker. In Norway, by comparison, the risk of maternal mortality is only 1 in 7,600 and nearly all births are attended by skilled help.
Afghanistan is also the most dangerous place to be born. One in five children will die before their fifth birthday. Afghan girls attend school for an average of only five years and female life expectancy is only 45. Compare that to Norway, where 1 in 333 children die before age 5 and women typically complete 18 years of school and live to age 83.
“In many countries, vaccines, antibiotics, and care during pregnancy are hard to reach and as a result child and maternal death rates are very high,” said Mary Beth Powers, chief of Save the Children’s newborn and child survival campaign. “This Mother’s Day, world leaders should honor mothers everywhere by ensuring they can celebrate what they want most — healthy children. That means helping all families, moms and babies be within reach of a trained health worker.”
The full 2011 State of the World’s Mothers report, titled “Champions for Children: Why Investing in Maternal and Child Health in Developing Countries is Good for America” can be found at http://www.savethechildren.org/site/c.8rKLIXMGIpI4E/b.6743707/k.219/State_of_the_Worlds_Mothers_2011.htm.
It includes the rankings and essays from former Senators Bill Frist and John Corzine, best-selling authors Rick and Kay Warren, former Xerox Chair Anne Mulcahy and actress Jennifer Garner. The site will also feature an embeddable documentary from Link TV’s ViewChange.org that takes a global tour of what’s working in the fight to improve and save the lives of at-risk mothers and children.
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