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Baby’s Coming: Is Everything Ready? – Part 2

In my last post I commented on the incredible disparity between a mother or mother-to-be in Australia (such as my wife Katie) and in developing countries. While maternal death in Australia is relatively good (1 in 13000), in Africa as a continent it is 1 in 9 and in Niger it is only 1 in 7. To add to that 9.2 million children die every year before the age of 5 and 7 million of these deaths are preventable with affordable measures. The chances of you as a mother surviving your pregnancy and then your child surviving past the age of 5 is incredibly different purely because of the country you live in. So what can be done?

I want to suggest 3 ways you can help: (1) become educated, (2) educate others and (3) act & give generously.

Become educated about these sorts of issues. Read the stats, read about the issues, talk to people who know about the issues… whatever you do, don’t allow yourself to become ignorant to the plight of the poor. It’s easy to gloss over something and not actually think about, let alone dig a little deeper to see more of the injustices in our world. Become educated so that you know about the issues and learn about what people are doing to help. For information about this issue of maternal health, see World Vision’s page on Maternal and Child Health.

When you are educated you have the ability to educate others. Tell others and speak up for the plight of the poor – this is called advocacy. In the same way that you haven’t allowed yourself to remain ignorant, don’t allow others to do the same. Teach others, educate other, empower others… help people to help. Help people to care, to love, to be compassionate towards the poor and to be empowered to do something about it. Educating people where they feel horrible about themselves or guilty to the point of despair disempowers people… educate people about the problems but also about the solutions and give them opportunities to respond with compassion and with generosity. To learn more about advocacy, see World Vision’s page on Advocacy or Baptist World Aid Australia’s page on Advocacy.

Finally, do something yourself – act & give generously. You can do something about these issues. You can use your skills, your training and go to where help is needed. But if that is not possible for you, you can do something where ever you are right now. Give generously. You can give to Aid and Development organisations such as World Vision or Baptist World Aid Australia (BWAA) or others and give to help fight poverty and injustice. To give concerning this issue of maternl and child health, it is easy. Through BWAA you can give a gift which can help someone in need. Just $105 will  train three traditional birth attendants in rural Cambodia in health, hygiene and essential midwifery skills, giving support to women and babies where there are no doctors – that only $35 per birth attendant! And World Vision has plenty of ways you can help too.

You can help with this issue of child and maternal health – learn, teach and give!

Proverbs 31:8-9: 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.


Baby’s Coming: Is Everything Ready?? – Part 1

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:

  1. A clean razor blade to cut the umbilical cord
  2. A pair of  latex gloves for the person helping to deliver the baby who is probably unskilled and untrained)
  3. A plastic sheet for the mother to give birth on so that they are not giving birth on a dirty or even dirt floor
  4. A bar of soap for clean hands and to clean the stumps
  5. Gauze pads (x5) to wipe the baby and for any other fluids
  6. 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….

The Millennium Development Goals & a Response to Poverty (Videos)

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..

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