One million babies die every year within 24 hours of their birth because of lack of basic healthcare and a major new campaign by Save the Children is aiming to halve that tragic total. Every year 40 million women give birth without trained help and in some countries only one in 10 women receive assistance during labour.
A new Save the Children report, ‘Ending Newborn Deaths’, for the first time shows the huge scale of the worldwide crisis for new born babies.
The report states that premature birth and complications during childbirth, such as prolonged labour, pre-eclampsia and infection, are causing high mortality rates, but more than half of these deaths could be prevented if every woman and baby had access to trained health care workers. In addition a further 1.2 million babies are stillborn each year.
To highlight these problems, TV News London’s broadcast PR expert and TV producer, Malcolm Douglas, visited Ethiopia in February together with ITV Daybreak presenter, Kate Garraway. She reported on ITV Daybreak about the problems that Ethiopian mothers face which are among the worst in the world with 28,000 babies dying within 24 hours of birth every year.
TV News London works with Save the Children as part of the UK PR team helping to achieve worldwide publicity for the charity’s Newborns Campaign which is aimed putting pressure on Governments to provide basic medical care for mothers and babies so that a trained midwife can be present at every birth.
Other coverage secured by Malcolm included a double page spread in the Mirror newspaper in which Kate wrote about how her visit had affected her. Here is a short extract from her article:
‘In a village I met Asamenech Hamid, who was just 18 but had already become pregnant three times. She became pregnant aged 11 and lost her first two babies when she went into labour as she walked to her parents’ home for help.
“Such prolonged labour, a result of not having services nearby, is a major cause of death for mums and children. When she finally got medical help through a Save the Children-backed centre, Asamenech had her third baby safe and sound, and now encourages all mums to push for the help they need.’
Together with Save the Children staff, Malcolm and Kate travelled for 8 hours by road from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to the city of Dessie, where one hospital serves seven million people and has only 2 gynecologists. “The care provided is so basic that when they run out of beds, they have to deliver babies on the floor” Malcolm says.
“They simply do not have the medical expertise, staff, and basic resources and facilities we take for granted in Britain” he added. “That’s why Save the Children is now calling on world leaders to commit to a blueprint for change which would start to provide these basic resources in order to prevent the deaths of newborn babies.”
“The scale of the problem was obvious when we visited another hospital in the Amhara region of Ethiopia. In the intensive care unit, the few cots they have the sides taped up with old cardboard boxes. These are the only thing they have available to help keep the vulnerable new born babies warm. There are no incubators – staff make do by putting old plug-in radiators between the cots. So, even if the babies survive the birth, they are at serious risk of dying in their first few hours.”
“At another maternity facility, the Kelalla Health Clinic in the remote Kelalla district of Amhara, there is one male midwife looking after up to 25,000 women and they don’t have enough hygienic mattresses for every woman in labour. Things are very tough for mothers in Ethiopia.”
ITV Daybreak: The harsh reality about Ethiopian babies
Link to Daily Mirror article
Visit the Save the Children website for more info
Jiro Ose/Save the Children
03 March 2014