Global Health Fact: 7 million children under 5 years of age die every year
One of the main culprits is malnutrition. When a child’s body becomes malnourished it causes the immune system to become weak. A weak immune system is not a good thing. Especially for children born in developing countries faced with poverty. The immune system cannot fend off the numerous diseases these children face, Pneumonia, Malaria, diarrhea, are just a few of the disease to combat.
Malnutrition occurs when children are deprived of their very basic nutritional needs. Calories, protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats are all essential to a growing body. Food scarcity and poverty is the vital reason these children die every year. Depravation of these basic needs equals malnourishment.
Children who are born premature are at more risk of dying because they were malnourished in the womb. This means they will be born with a weak immune system and possibly become exposed to a deadly disease they cannot fight.
Carolyn Miles, President of Save the Children, stated, “Malnutrition is a largely hidden crisis, but it afflicts one in four children around the world. It wreaks lifelong damage and it is a major killer of children. Every hour of everyday, 300 children die because of malnutrition.”
Here’s a story of a baby girl from Kenya named Umi
This little girl was found at three months old extremely malnourished and on the brink of death. Umi was quickly taken to the closest hospital for medical treatment and eventually recovered.
Months had passed and Umi continued to be nursed back to health. She was recovering from her brush with death and was a happy, healthy, baby for once. She turned two years old and was thriving as best she could.
However, because of her struggling times with malnutrition as an infant, Umi’s immune system never fully recovered and was not prepared to tackle what was waiting for her. The two year old caught pneumonia and diarrhea, the most common killers among children in developing countries. Tragically Umi died.
Umi died — to put it simply — because of poverty. If it wasn’t for her exposure to malnourishment as an infant she might be with the world today. Her fragile immune system might have been able to fight those horrible illnesses. In addition to these factors Umi did not live close enough to medical help. Her family lived in rural Africa without the ability to travel far. This all stems from poverty.
All of these things together stacked the odds against this child to ever survive.
Many children die every year in developing countries because of these reasons. Mothers and babies need to remain top priority for organizations fighting to end these preventable deaths. If solutions to these problems can be made quickly then another child like Umi may be able to survive.
– Amy Robinson