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World Day of Social Justice
Preventing Child Deaths is real Social Justice… for all
February 20, 2018
"We all have a moral responsibility, let alone a public health responsibility, to keep babies alive to adolescence. ”
Alan Lopez, Professor Laureate at the University of Melbourne serves as a Global Partners Board Member, and in an interview reminds us of the importance of CHAMPS for families, communities, and the world.
Champions for social justice
Since 1990 significant strides have been made in the global
efforts to reduce under-five mortality rate. According to the WHO, the global under-five mortality rate has dropped by 56% in the last 26 years, from 93 deaths per 1000 live births in 1990 to 41 deaths per 1000 live births in 2016. However, better progress is still needed as approximately 15,000 under-five deaths occur every day, which means nearly six million children never celebrate their fifth birthday in the places where CHAMPS works.
“Very few children die in the United States or Australia or the United Kingdom because we have effective treatments available and we have the health systems to deliver them. Why can’t we be doing the same in other parts of the world?”
Every child deserves the opportunity to live and thrive beyond the age of five.
Many parents in low-resource countries, where child mortality rates are highest, are at a much higher risk of losing their child, and may never know the reason why their son or daughter died. This is due to gaps in disease surveillance, death registries, and inadequate health care systems that not only fail to save lives, but also fail to provide necessary insight needed to help prevent deaths and provide answers.
"As a mother, I couldn’t imagine the grief of losing a child much less not know why they died,” said Ellen Whitney, U.S. Office Director for the International Association of National Public Health Institutes. “CHAMPS gives parents a form of closure - what every parent deserves.”
The United Nations prioritized reducing child mortality in its 2015 Sustainable Development Goals and declared February 20th as World Day of Social Justice: a day to support efforts for access to social well-being and justice for all. At CHAMPS we use this day to bring attention to the inequality that so many children are subjected to because they were born in an area where access to healthcare, clean water, and basic resources are limited. Unlike children in the United States, children die at a rate of 1 in 5 in the parts of the world where most of our network lives and works. This level of injustice and disparity is what motivates CHAMPS to carry out our mission to use innovative approaches to generate and share knowledge that improves understanding and prevention of child mortality.
Social justice for all
CHAMPS believes in a world where all children are able to thrive, a world without health inequality. We work to equip our network and partners with data that will allow them to identify and remedy gaps in health care and resources to attack health inequality at the source.
At the community level, CHAMPS also works with families that have lost children to help them understand why their child has died, and to give them closure.
“We are bringing closure to families, and answers to families that are asking themselves, why?” said Richard Chawana, the Senior Program Manager for South Africa.
“Through the CHAMPS process, people begin to understand how diseases and infections are passed on, and what has to be done in the future to prevent such things from happening,” said Chawana on the value of the CHAMPS’ network. “The most important thing is that we are providing solutions and answers to families.”
On this World Social Justice Day we cast a light on this injustice that we are working to change, not just today, but every day.
Photos used in this article are from the EGHI Global Health Student Photography Contest. The purpose of EGHI's Global Health Student Photography Contest is to foster cultural sensitivity by encouraging Emory students conducting global health projects to examine the culture and people with whom they are working. Students from across the Emory campus have participated in this contest, which is sponsored by Mr. Bob Yellowlees, an Atlanta business leader, philanthropist, and photographer who founded Lumière Gallery. In addition to capturing both a global health message and creating a photographic work of art, EGHI also asks Emory students to consider ethical issues when taking pictures of people in low- and middle-income countries.