Take a Pledge to Save the Children

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We all are made to believe that good times are here. That India is the next big thing to watch out for one the world map. Statistics are speaking aloud that Indian economy is flourishing and everybody, right from the top economists to the top astrologers have proclaimed that India is set to become a superpower in the coming decades. Even the world has turned its eyes towards India. The land of magicians and snake-charmers has now topped the list of outsourcing options to the multinationals. Hollywood seems to have newly found interest in dance and music of Indian cinema.

Today, as we find ourselves basking in the international spotlight, there is also a dark shadow that exists behind all this glitter. As we are on our ascent to prosperity, the rate of child mortality in India continues to be high. Out of the 26 million children born in India every year, nearly 1.83 million still die before their fifth birthday and half of them within a month of being born. Most of them, due to easily preventable diseases like Pneumonia, Diarrhea and Malaria. In spite of being a significant force in the global economy, these levels of child deaths remain to be the same. When we take a closer look at this fact, we realise that there are a few conditions that account for more than 90 per cent of these deaths. These are pneumonia, measles, diarrhoea, malaria and neo-natal conditions that occur during pregnancy and during or immediately after birth. In most cases, the conditions that are the direct cause of childhood deaths are preventable and treatable. However, the basic healthcare services that can protect children from these diseases remain inaccessible to many of India’s poorest children.

Some Indian children are more prone to these medical diseases, cutting down their chances of survival due to factors like the lack of essential healthcare, high levels of maternal and child malnutrition, unavailability of clean drinking water, safe sanitation and poor hygiene. In many Indian states, the level of child mortality is high because the allocated resources for the cause aren't spent on it at all. They get stuck in the filters of bureaucracy and logistics. Indian government needs to take drastic measures to curb this high rate of infant mortality, as most of the authority rests in their hand. Child survival has to be looked at as a key metric by which India.

should judge its success in development. Existing government schemes regarding child and maternal health need to be integrated with the development policies and be likewise implemented. Along with this government also needs to focus on the health issues of newborns and infants. At every governmental level, India’s political leaders need to create an impacting action plan with regards to tackling malnutrition amongst children in poverty stricken areas.

Improved child and maternal health and nutrition is closely correlated with successful economic development. We do not need a major technological breakthrough to achieve this. All we need is a requisite political will and the right policies, with which we can bring about a drastic cut in child mortality rates.

The United Nations Millennium Development Goal Review Summit is the right moment for India’s political leaders to decide that it is high time to take the right steps, with high level of commitment and urgency. We at Save the Children have recently launched our new drive EVERY ONE, which aims at making a big positive change with regards to child mortality. On September 22nd, our Government will attend the UN Summit in New York to look at progress on tackling child mortality - for children to have the health care and nutrition they need to live and grow up strong. Through this campaign we call for the government to deliver better health care for mothers, newborns and children. It urges government to fulfill its own promise to increase spending on health care to 3% of GDP by 2012, train and deploy more health workers and tackle malnutrition especially in the poorest and most marginalised communities across India

Parimal Tripathi is a volunteer content writer for Jaagore. To learn and speak about issues on street children, environmental pollution, garbage disposal, corruption, volunteering, volunteer work, community services, NGOs, Anti Corruption in India, social and civic issues visit http://www.jaagore.com

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