Save Our Children – Help Children Reach 5
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|   Nov 03, 2015
Save Our Children – Help Children Reach 5

When my daughter was born, it goes needless to say, I was overjoyed as only a mother can be. To hold a teeny-tiny life whom you carried in your body for 9 months is an emotional moment for any woman. I couldn’t get enough of watching my precious baby. I stayed awake at nights just to stare at her, like a watchful dog. Yes, yes...I was doing it ‘extra’ and being ‘over the top’ as my (had-lost-all-patience) husband had told me on quite a few occasions then. But, well, that was ME, a MOTHER!

However, one thing that gave me sleepless nights was the fear of people randomly touching my baby. People came in, took her in their arms, touched her innocent cheeks while I looked at them suspiciously, angrily and worrying for my newborn. I couldn’t stop them from touching my baby, even though I was seething in anger. So, I got a bottle of hand sanitizer and kept it beside my precious doll, hoping they would pick it up, clean their hands and then touch my baby.

But, NO, they still didn’t. It killed me every time they touched her with their soiled hands. I imagined thousands of germs crawling on the soft and pure skin of my baby. I was worried sick about her catching their infections and all. Looking back on those days, I still recoil in horror. Thank God, my daughter survived.

However, not all babies do. Ensconced in our safe worlds, we hardly think what’s going around in this world.

·         The current neonatal mortality rate in India is 29%. Neonatal mortality rate is the number of babies dying before reaching 28 days, per 1000 births.

·         The infant mortality rate in India is 39%. Infant mortality rate is the number of infants dying before they turn 1, per 1000 birthds.

·         And the biggest shocker of all, 1 million children who are under the age of 5, die every year in India. Yes, the under 5 mortality rate in India is 50%.

Let’s not flow down in the deluge of statistics. Because, that’s what it is for us, plain statistics. But, it is tragedy for the parents and the family. I can never think of parting with my child. So, just imagine the plight of these parents.

And you know, half of these deaths occur due to diseases like diarrhoea and pneumonia, which we all know are easily preventable. All we need to do is ensure basis hygiene - wash our hands properly from time to time, after the toilet and before handling our child.

Just imagine, a death can be averted and a child can be saved by taking such a simple measure - by just washing our hands.

All this, I came to know due to a simple awareness programme organized by Lifebuoy (Hindustan UniLever India). The celebrated Bollywood actress, Kajol was present too in her right as the brand ambassador to the campaign – Help Child Reach 5. - http://www.lifebuoy.com/socialmission/help-childreach5/

We think washing our hands is such a given and mundane task, that we never realize that there is a major chunk of the Indian population who don’t do it, because they do not know its importance. Let’s pledge to spread the awareness of washing our hands with soap and water. This is for our child, for us and for our family.

·         Every time you come back home – wash your hands and ensure your child washes too.

·         Insist to your child on washing her hands before eating.

·         Make your child wash her hands after her toilet, kids should know the importance of killing the germs with soap and water.

·         Wash your hands and your child’s if you have blown her nose or she has herself wiped it.

·         Make sure your child washes her hands properly, but applying soap generously and rubbing the hands together.

·         Do not keep this knowledge to yourself; share it generously. Talk to your domestic help, milkman, watchmen, etc.

Check out this short video and you will realize how we can save thousands of kids every year by just following this simple practice. In this video, a young Chamki thanks her mother for allowing her to live beyond the dreaded 5 year age, because she followed this simple hygiene mantra - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsnP_6kdtDY

Let’s come together and help children reach 5. Let’s make a healthy India.

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