Local News

Save the Children Targets Infant Mortality

Asma Al-Mohattwari

Under the slogan “The Right to Live for Every Child,” the Save the Children organization recently held a workshop in the area of advocacy and children’s rights this past Wednesday September 11th. “For every one” is a campaign combining local and global efforts in Yemen. The workshop aimed to introduce the campaign of advocating for children’s issues—and the benefits of such a campaign—to more than twenty participants, including journalists, playwrights and actors.

The workshop aimed to build the capacity of participants in the field of advocacy and children’s rights and design an advocacy plan on health and nutrition issues of children and mothers.

Fatima Alajel, Policy and Advocacy Manager at Save the Children in Yemen, said that the campaign will take place over five years and aims to improve the lives of children under the age of five within the campaign period. The project will also raise community awareness about the importance of striving to reduce the proportion of deaths among children and newborns.

This campaign was devised following studies showing that about 2 million children worldwide die each year on the first day of birth, and that 9.2 million children die each year before the completing their fifth birthday. Put another way, poor medical practice and lack of knowledge leads to the death of 25,000 children every day—or one child every three seconds.

In spite of the efforts made by the Yemeni government to apply the 1990 millennium plan for development, however, the ratio of deaths in Yemen has recently reached 73 per 1000 children under the age of five, says a 2009 UNICEF study.

The studies explained several easily avoidable factors contribute to the deaths of these children. Unqualified midwives, for example, may be a leading cause of infant death.

Every year, 84,000 children under the age of five die in Yemen, equating to an average of 250 children per day, says a 2008 UNICEF study.

The local to global project will take place in five countries, of which Yemen is one. Al-Ajel said that they chose Hodeida as the base of operations for the Yemen portion of the campaign. All initiatives related to the project will begin in Hodeida.