The Healthy Baby Project 2020

The Healthy Baby Project was conceived(!) at the 2011 APPPAH conference. Its main objective is simple: to create a world in which every baby has the healthiest possible start in life. To do so will require a host of changes including: improving women's rights, reducing environmental toxins, providing adequate prenatal care, and ending global poverty. The good news is that we have enough resources and knowledge to reach these goals NOW. We are already making some progress on these goals: from 1990 to 2009, for instance, the number of annual newborn death decreased by 1.3 million, but 3.3 million still did not survive. The World Health Organization notes that during the first 28 days of life, "the child is at highest risk of dying. It is thus crucial that appropriate feeding and care are provided during this period, both to improve the child’s chances of survival and to lay the foundations for a healthy life." Dr. Adam Jones (UBCO) has demonstrated that maternal mortality rates around the world could be dramatically reduced for the cost of...six jet fighters. World-wide there are three primary causes of infant mortality: premature birth, asphyxia, and severe infections. Each problem can easily be prevented with proper care. Training more midwives and other community health workers could save the lives of many more babies. Solutions as simple as keeping newborns warm, clean, and properly breast-fed could keep them alive. Similar measures are needed in wealthy countries, too. In Canada, infant mortality worsened dramatically, dropping from sixth place in the world to 24th place (below Ireland and Greece). In the United States, babies "are more likely to die during the first month of life than babies born in Cuba, Poland, and dozens of other countries." The United Nations is committed to improving infant health as part of its Millennium Development Program. In addition, the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. The Convention stated that children everywhere have the right to survival and to develop to their fullest. The strategy of the Healthy Baby Project is threefold:
  1. Public Education - increasing people's understanding of the needs of babies and parents, so that we can all make positive changes in our lives and in the lives of our families, friends, and neighbors.
  2. Alliances - working cooperatively with Non-Governmental Organizations, health and education professionals, concerned individuals, governments, businesses, and in coalitions to improve the lives of babies.
  3. Elections - making maternal and infant health one of the most significant issues in elections: local or national.
We will urge candidates and political parties to take a positive stand for this ultimate "motherhood issue." This is a need that we can all do something about, no matter where we live or how much time we can spare. Nobody can do it all, but we can each do something, and THAT will make the difference for millions of lives. For more information: Deb Puterbaugh (U.S.): deb@femininechange.com; Bruce Wilson (Canada/Quebec): bruce@medicalwriter.ca; Peter Prontzos (Canada/B.C.): pprontzos@langara.bc.ca