I just read the latest blog by my friend Genevieve Rasle. While I was celebrating 5,400 lives being saved, she experienced the sheer horror of one life being lost. Reading her post made my hair stand on end.
Go and read it now, then come back.
Ginny’s absolutely right. Every preventable death is a death too many. No child should be dying in 2010 from diarrhoea, measles, pneumonia, malaria. It’s insane.
Almost 10 million children die each year from conditions that are simple to prevent and treat. That’s a huge number, impossible to imagine.
But yesterday I told you about 5,400 lives being saved; 5,400 of the world’s most desperately vulnerable, ill, remote, inaccessible, war-torn children’s lives. Saved. If we can save their’s we can save the rest.
Every saved life is the happy ending of a story with a whole host of characters. It’s the story of a mother who recognised the danger signs and acted. The story of the nurse who knew how to treat the child.
The story of a health centre that had enough of the right medicine, and the story of a health system that had delivered those drugs and trained the nurse and taught the mother… It’s a very good story.
There’s also a whole series of stories that are harder to tell because they’re a bit short. There’s the story of a mother who bought a bed net and used it. The end. The story of a community health worker who mixed some sugar and salt into clean water and giving it to a toddler. The end.
The story of a woman who had two antenatal check-ups and gave birth with the help of a midwife. The end.
They’re good aren’t they? My favourites. We need more of them. About 10 million more.
The world has committed to this. Look at the Millennium Development Goals. It isn’t a question of ‘if’ or ‘when’ or ‘how’; we already have commitment, knowledge, experience, we just need to get on with doing it.
There are a million things you can do to help. I sign campaign cards, I give money back to the organisation that employs me, I write this blog. Today I’m asking you to do something too.
Post a link to mine or Ginny’s blog on facebook, tell someone in the pub tonight, use your vote wisely in the election, go to our website and get more ideas. Whatever you do, work up some rage and knock everyone around you out of apathy.
10 million children dying in a year is about 19 children dying in a minute. Right now, someone somewhere is on their knees at the loss of their child. That’s more heartbreak than I’m prepared to put up with.