How much would you expect the Australian Government to give to help the world’s poor? Where does our responsibility begin to help the poor and what constitutes a good reason to cut what we give in foreign aid?
Talk in Australian politics, ever since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), has been about bringing the budget back to surplus.
The Government recently noted the possible cuts to the promised $2.7 Billion spending boost to foreign aid as part of the Governments promise to meet the UN Millenium Development Goals (MGDs) spending target of 0.5% of Gross National Income (GNI) by 2015. This was a promise the Government made in 2007 under then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and since then we have more than doubled our spending from that of the Howard government era. However, now with further economic pressures, the comparatively small about of spending that currently goes to foreign aid is in the firing line. Read the rest of this entry
Later on in September (or early October) this year I will become a Dad for the first time. Over the last 8 or so months, Katie and I have been getting thing ready and organised for the new arrival - Doctor’s visits, ante-natal class, ultrasounds, blood tests, vaccinations, buying cots, car seats, baby clothes. It is amazing just how much time, care and preparation goes into becoming a parent, not to mention all the lovely gifts you receive from baby showers and friends and family showing that they love you. Katie has had a great time of being pregnant (for the most part) and is doing a terrific job… but for a lot of Mums-to-be in the world, it is not all that simple. Check out these stats from Micah Challenge:
- 60 million women around the world will be delivering a baby this year without skilled attendant or midwife
- Life time risks of maternal death in Australia is 1 in 13000 , in Greece and Italy it is 1 in 25000, while in Ireland it is less than 1 in 47600. Meanwhile in Africa as a continent it is 1 in 16 , while it is 1 in 8 in Afghanistan and only 1 in 7 in Niger (see The Best and Worst Places to be a Mother report) .
- This year, one woman will die every minute from pregnancy related complications. But almost all of the funding and research done on maternal health is done to reduce the 1% of deaths in rich western countries like our own, Australia.
- 4 million babies die each year before they are 28-days old.
- 99% of child deaths occur in less developed countries.
- 9.2 million children die each year before they reach the age of 5 – about 7 million of these deaths could be easily prevented with affordable measures.
Katie and I live in Australia, therefore we are likely to have a healthy baby and Mum and if something did go wrong we would have skilled attendants and technology to help us out. In fact, according to Save the Children, a report issued in 2010 about The Best and Worst Places to be a Mother listed Australia and Norway to be the best places to be a mother in the world, meanwhile, in Ethiopia, 1 in 5 children will not reach their 5th birthday. I can’t even imagine giving birth on a dirt floor, in a hut, by yourself, with no pain relief… and even if that was a success, just because you live where you do your baby has a much higher chance of dying before the age of 5. All this because you are too poor, too remote and are unable to access basic health services…
Some Mothers in these less developed countries are “lucky” and do recieve help. In some countries NGOs and other organisations are seeking to provide Mother’s with basic care to give them a better chance of survival and to give their babies a lesser chance of infection at birth and a better start in life. There are still no doctors, still no midwives, still no blood tests or ultrasounds. What the “lucky” ones get is a maternal heath pack, such as the ones provided by The Birthing Kit Foundation (Australia). This pack could save their life and the life of the baby. Consists of:
- A clean razor blade to cut the umbilical cord
- A pair of latex gloves for the person helping to deliver the baby who is probably unskilled and untrained)
- A plastic sheet for the mother to give birth on so that they are not giving birth on a dirty or even dirt floor
- A bar of soap for clean hands and to clean the stumps
- Gauze pads (x5) to wipe the baby and for any other fluids
- Cotton cord to tie the umbilical cord
That’s it. Nothing more… and they are the lucky ones, but it could save their live.
Its not fair that I get to live in a country such as Australia with all the technology and free health services that are availble to me, while others are left with nothing. We will probably be showered with gifts and have too much stuff to handle… we’ll probably have to give stuff away without even using it because we’ll have too much. Yet, so many woman and children will go without to the extent that it will cost them their life….
For Christians, the plight of the poor in our world must be a priority. We cannot igore it. Proverbs 31:8-9 says, ” 8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. 9 Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”(NIV)
Two videos which speak about extreme poverty and solutions…. big solutions!
This first one was explains the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of 8 goals signed by 189 countries.
This next one is from The Girl Effect
Let me know what you think..