Disturbing UNICEF report: 4m children died in 28 days

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The State of the World’s Children, is the title of a just released UNICEF (The United Nations Children’s Fund) annual report on maternal and neonatal health focuses. The dramatic choice of title is meant to highlight the state of health among mothers and children.

Last year alone, 4 million children died within 28 days of birth. And in the case of maternal mortality, there were 400 deaths for every 100,000 births.

Supervising women during pregnancy, improving the conditions in which women give birth and medical monitoring of infants are among the practical measures the UNICEF report focuses on implementing in order to reduce the unparalleled massacre that takes place among the world’s poorest people, particularly in Africa and Asia.

“The situation is unacceptable,” states Marie-Claire Mutanda, head of maternal and neonatal health for UNICEF-Niger. “Women are a force for development for a country. We must give them access to education and decision-making.”

The lack of education and the weight of traditions play a major role in this phenomenon. To fight this trend, it is imperative to create a favourable social environment, according to the The United Nations Children’s Fund.

Societies should be made to understand the need to prevent early marriages, putting a stop to female genital mutilation (female genital cutting) and, combating violence and abusive treatment.

The report noted that although these measures have been the subject of numerous campaigns for a long time, their success have been compromised due to the difficulties involved in putting them to effective practice in the field.

Health file  The lack of education and political will, poverty, out-moded traditional beliefs, to mention but a few, have been widely blamed for causing severe and sometimes unwarranted health catastrophies of genocidal proportions on the African continent. Child killer diseases, malaria, tuberculosis, water borne diseases, HIV/AIDS, among other preventable ailments have killed millions in their wake. As rightly said by the former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, on May 13, 2000 "More people (...) died of Aids in the past year (1999-2000, ndlr) in Africa than in all the wars on the continent".
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