Tag Archives: child health

Caring for two lives: Q & A with a midwife

“It is not an easy task to perform. I have [responsibility for] two lives at a time -- the mother and the baby,” says Aklima Begum, 48. Aklima lives in Bangladesh and is highly respected in her community. 

Thanks to World Vision, Aklima was able to be educated and certified as a midwife. Midwifery is an extremely important skill for her community, since many families can't afford to see a doctor or stay in a hospital. The lives of mothers and infants are put at risk when they don't have access to proper prenatal care or a safe birthing environment.

Through her education in midwifery, Aklima is able to provide skilled care to mothers who would otherwise have to go without it.

Malaria: The disease that silences laughter

Today, I bought a coffin.

We spent the morning in a village in Mozambique visiting Marita, a dear little girl whose best friend had died of malaria last year.

Marita was still grieving. She sat quietly while the rest of the children played in high spirits, shouting and laughing through a game of soccer.

Marita’s mother invited us to come back later for supper. Hospitality can never be refused, even when the givers have so little. Marita’s father makes just $48 a year in a country to which both people and nature have been unkind.

PHOTOS: When empty shelves threaten lives

Here in the United States, when our little ones come down with common childhood illnesses, we have relatively easy access to over-the-counter medicines and supplies that can treat them and ease their suffering. Rarely, if ever, do such ailments become life-threatening.

Tragically, the opposite is often true in developing countries. Children who become ill with treatable conditions -- such as worms, diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria -- seek treatment at local clinics, but the shelves there are frequently empty. Poverty renders basic medicines and supplies unaffordable or inaccessible, and children's lives are needlessly placed at risk.

World Vision works with pharmaceutical companies and other corporate partners, who donate medications and medical supplies that we can ship and distribute to clinics around the world where they're needed most. The images below depict the problem -- and what we're doing to help solve it.

Malaria: Battling the "plague of the poor"

Today is World Malaria Day. One of the top killers of children globally, malaria remains a serious threat in African countries like Mozambique -- even though it's completely preventable and treatable, and even though it was eradicated here in the United States more than half a century ago.

Tom Costanza, a World Vision videographer, shares reflections from a trip to Mozambique, contrasting the elimination of malaria in the United States and its continued devastating effects, both on children and adults, in developing countries.

But simple solutions exist that save lives. And you can help.

Malaria: The source of a mother’s torment

World Malaria Day is coming up on April 25. This preventable, treatable disease was eradicated in the United States in the early 1950s -- but even today, it continues to devastate lives in places like Kenya, where simple interventions could end suffering for mothers like Elizabeth. Read her story below and consider how you can take action to help accomplish what was done in this country decades ago.

Fast facts on child health

I’m at that phase in life when a lot of my friends are having babies. Within six weeks, I will have gone to three baby showers! I’m thinking about how many prenatal doctor appointments women have in the United States -- and how many checkups and appointments most newborns have in their first year of life.

But what if there was no doctor to visit? No hospital or nearby clinic? No family doctor or trained midwife?

What would happen? Maternal and child mortality rates would go up.

What does "social justice" really mean?

Social justice is a catch-all term that has gone through many seasons of being en vogue and then going out of favor, often suffering from competing definitions and vastly different interpretations. It's like Silly Putty -- that popular substance we used to play with as kids that can be twisted and contorted into whatever shape your heart desires.

The malaria scare

[caption id="attachment_12514" align="aligncenter" width="540" caption="Nicole Suka gives her 3-year-old son, Yangana, a sip of water as he receives a blood transfusion for his severe case of malaria."]The malaria scare | World Vision Blog[/caption]

People like me, who thought the world was winning the war against malaria, might have gotten a rude awakening earlier this month following the release of a report by researchers at the University of Washington.

The state of America's children

Have you ever asked yourself, “What am I doing to make my community, my country, and my world a better place?”

Perhaps you asked yourself something similar in your new year resolutions; or perhaps you ask it when you look at your own children. As a mother of three, I find myself doing this.

As I reflect on the words of President Obama's State of the Union address from last night, this is the question I hope we are all asking -- and doing something about it.

'If he survives' -- memories from Papua New Guinea

Tune in to your local ABC station on the evening of December 16 for a special edition of “20/20” with Diane Sawyer and ABC's Million Moms campaign as they examine modern-day health issues for children and mothers. For more from the ABC Million Moms Challenge, "like" their page on Facebook.

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As a photojournalist with World Vision through much of the 1980s and 1990s, I long ago lost count of the number of rural health clinics I have visited. The vacant looks on the faces of the mothers, too tired and stressed to focus; the babies in their arms, some crying softly, some shrieking in fear and discomfort; others -- too many -- lethargic and still, seemingly lifeless dolls on their parent’s laps or on filthy blankets on the floor of a decaying health facility.

It was hard to look into those tiny faces, some of which I knew wouldn’t survive much longer unless they received urgent medical care, which usually wasn’t available at the time.