This 2012 we have begun a new project that is reaching into four of our adopted villages bringing basic skills, supplies and knowledge on how to take care of young children. We have named it the “Well-Baby Project”!
The World Health Organization states “more than 8 million children under five die every year. Almost 90% of all child deaths are attributable to just six conditions: neonatal causes, pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, measles, and HIV/AIDS.” However “child deaths are not evenly distributed over the 0-5 years period. The youngest are most vulnerable: 69% of under-five deaths occur in infancy (the first year of life), particularly during the neonatal period (the first month of life), when nearly 37% of all child deaths occur.” WHO
“Most child deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Close to half in the WHO African Region and more than one quarter in the WHO South-East Asia Region.”(Which includes the Philippines) -WHO
We as clinic staff have been saddened and disheartened seeing the pain and loss in the lives of our patients. Knowing our patients personally we know that it is not apathy or a lack of love for their children that leads to these untimely deaths, rather it is lack of knowledge.
Unicef stated, “about 80 per cent of health care in developing countries occurs in the home – and the majority of children who die do so at home, without being seen by a health worker. Meanwhile, proper infant feeding and breast-feeding are still not practiced by many families. As many as 40 per cent of child deaths could be prevented with improved family and community care – not high-tech health equipment, but access to solid knowledge, support and basic supplies. -Unicef
Our Well-Baby project aims to bring these tools; knowledge, basic supplies and support, to the families with young children in Kalinga. We go out each week into the communities with videos, games, projects, hands-on training and lectures. We are tackling subjects such as basic sanitation, nutrition, medical emergencies and malaria.
Here are some testimonials from the mothers in attendance of our “Medical Emergencies” training:
“I’m really thankful we’ve been learning about fever and what to do, because in the past whenever my kids would get a fever, I would wrap them up with a blanket. Next time i know what to do.”
“We just got out of the hospital yesterday afternoon. Last wednesday, my baby Angel had a high fever, it was 39 C on the thermometer. I was wiping her with a wet cloth to bring her fever down, it would get down a bit then would go back up to 39 C again. After a while her fever went up to 40 C, and she started to convulse. My mother-in-law picked her up and started to wail over her…i told her to put my baby down so i can wipe her even more, and then i rushed her to the hospital, where she was confined for 2 days.”
(In the Butbut tribe, whenever the people think somebody, especially a child, is “dying,” the older women would gather around and cry out loud and wail, because they believe that by doing so, the person’s spirit would come back. That was really a big thing for Joy to tell her mother-in-law to put her baby down so she could wipe her some more. Here in the villages the older people rule, especially if it is a practice that they have been doing for a long time.)
We are so thankful for the support of Geshenke Der Hoffnung eV to make this project possible.