Following the American Psychological Association’s Guidelines
Childhood mortality is an unfortunate epidemiological concern that, in the year 2013, affected 6.3 million children and nearly 4 million families . Children most susceptible to mortality before the age of five develop infections, are denied or do not have access to neonatal care, or receive poor nutrition . This concern is a global crisis, showing no signs of slowing down. However, it is more prevalent in poorly developed, or third world countries. For example, the majority of child deaths took place in underdeveloped countries throughout Africa. Most of those deaths occurred before the child was a month old, still in infancy, and due primarily to poor neonatal and post-natal care. The infants developed congenital anomalies or were born too prematurely to survive outside of the womb, placing them at a disadvantage. Many child deaths also occurred in India and other parts of the Middle East. Though these areas incur higher rates of childhood mortality than others do, it remains a world concern, as children under five die in every country, every day.
Based on these statistics, the populations primarily affected are those living in third-world countries. Populations in low-income areas that are unable to afford care during pregnancies or right after the birth of a child are most susceptible to this issue. Individuals who live in areas that do not have access to these things are also susceptible to this issue. Families and individuals all over the world are susceptible to experiencing childhood mortality, though mothers and families in more industrialized countries have a higher probability of having access to care in order to prevent many issues that cause childhood mortality. Those who live in many European countries, Canada, the United States, etc. also have more opportunities to ensure their child receives healthcare and proper nutrition from infancy to the age of five.
Because the crisis is only affecting low-income, third-world countries, it is easy for many to brush it off. However, if it is not addressed, it could become an issue for other populations. 6.3 million children, or 17,000 children each day, died in the year 2013 due to various reasons. Should the trend continue, obviously, only more children will die. However, issues such as disease could be spread from low-income areas to more developed countries. Diseases will not discriminate against the income of a child’s parents, or their country of origin. Therefore, the populations of more developed countries could eventually be impacted more deeply if the crisis is not addressed on a serious level. Low-income or underdeveloped populations will continue to be decimated. More specifically, adolescents will be impacted by the childhood mortality rate. Strides are being made in adolescent health, both physically and mentally . However, if childhood mortality is not addressed and the adolescent population begins to decline it could be detrimental for adolescent health during future generations. They rely heavily on peer support and a wide range of socialization. A smaller population means less of each of these vital influences in the adolescent’s life .
There are many risk factors associated with childhood mortality. Poor nutrition in children means poor nutrition in adults. If the child is unhealthy, so is the rest of the family; the child was likely weak enough to succumb to death before other family members. Diseases killing children under the age of five are not only likely, but also certain to affect other members of the population . Once more, the child was likely the weaker member of the family, succumbing to the disease before other individuals in the community or the family. Poor neonatal and post-natal care points to the probability of lacking healthcare overall in these areas. Essentially, each primary factor associated with childhood mortality has the capacity to begin influencing older individuals within the community. Poor nutrition can kill adults as well as children. Diseases and poor healthcare can also kill anybody of any age.
Many recommendations could be made on behalf of the childhood mortality issue. To begin with, an initiative involving nutritional education should be instigated in health facilities worldwide. It will not put healthy food in homes, but it will teach individuals about the importance of nutrition and how effective a nutritious diet can be for survival. In doing so, when an individual buys food, or receives assistance as a food bank as an example, they will choose vegetable over boxed and processed goods. Small changes such as these can make a large difference in a child’s life. A breastfeeding mother eating nutritiously can also have a large impact on her infant, and whether or not the infant will survive. Educating pregnant mothers on healthy lifestyles, as well as where to find affordable neonatal care is also important, as this is a source of childhood mortality. The World Health Organization should work to provide cheaper neonatal care, primarily in third world countries, and low income areas of first world countries, in an effort to mitigate the damage poor healthcare can do to a fetus. This initiative would also undo the damage done by poor post-natal care, or the lack of access to post-natal care. One solution however, that would be cheaper than providing the world with healthcare, would be to provide the world with birth control. An estimated 39% of the children who fall victim to childhood mortality were part of unplanned pregnancy; access to birth control can prevent these incidences .
In sum, childhood mortality is a tragic crisis. It affects populations the world over, the it primarily targets people in impoverished countries. If left untreated, it has the capacity to begin effecting first world countries more deeply, as one of its causes is disease. Many solutions could be instigated, such as access to healthcare, and nutritional education. Access to birth control and other sexual education would also benefit the cause. With extreme effort and time, childhood mortality rates can begin to fall, until it is no longer a crisis.
Adolescent Health. (2015, July 10). Retrieved from Healthypeople.gov: http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/Adolescent-Health
GHO Data. (2015). Retrieved from WHO: http://www.who.int/gho/child_health/en/
Research, Statistics, & Policy Analysis. (2015). Retrieved from Social Security: http://www.ssa.gov/policy/about/epidemiology.html