What is the best way to decrease infant mortality rates in developing nations?
Infant mortality rates in developing nations are devastatingly high. The numbers are mostly from the less developed rural areas. In these areas, there are poorly facilitated medical clinics if any at all.
The same areas also lack properly trained medical physicians, with most of them in the area being interns or doctors in their early stage residency. They are sent on government allocation to help lower level hospitals and clinics to manage the high numbers of patients, to the low ratio of medical staff.
As a result, medical workers are often, overworked and underpaid. Leaving the patients in the crucial care of only a few who may not be well equipped to help the patients, especially if they are in critical condition or experience an unexpected emergency. For expectant mothers, having an emergency during birth can be a life and death situation, and unfortunately, sometimes both mother and child die.
It is not uncommon to find women giving birth at home. Although it is not allowed, some of these women live at a very long distance from the closest maternity clinic or hospital. Making It a painful and cumbersome journey to walk to the clinic while in labor. They also cannot afford to sleep in the hospital as they await the due date due to long distance because, some of the clinics are unsafe at night especially because of tribal clashes, and raids that are ongoing in some of those rural areas.
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These women who also live in abject poverty, do not have adequate food and sufficient water to nourish the body during pregnancy with the required vitamins and supplements. For such women, their children are sometimes born with deformities to be it internal or external, or they are born smaller than normal. In some cases, the children die soon after birth due to lack of sufficient nutrients or medical care when born with special conditions and otherwise.
Women are also often discharged on the same day due to lack of sufficient facilities like beds, beddings and even food for the overnight stay new mothers require. They are sent home the next day with painkillers and instructions on how to care for the child. It is very difficult to access good medical care even after birth for the child. Unless it is a hospital fully stocked with government supplies and medicine, it is hard to even access vaccines for the child. This is why children in rural areas often get diseases that have vaccines or die early (infant mortality), as they are not able to recover from the harsh conditions, and illnesses they may get infected with.
Governments have tried to decrease the infant mortality rate by holding regular free vaccines to children in these areas, and often at subsidized prices. In some cases, non-governmental organizations engage in community work which involves alleviating the poverty and sickness that these women in rural areas face. They do engage in medical activities by providing medical aid in the forms of medicine that are administered and physical medical care.
As a solution, mobile clinics have been introduced in some developing nations. They are equipped like a level five (fully equipped) hospital, to cater to women and children, in areas that are further away from hospitals and clinics. This was introduced as one way to curb the high number of infant mortalities, and to reduce the risk of mothers losing their lives as well. These women received first class care to serve both of them during the maternity period, to childbirth.
The women receive information and supplements that will improve their health. They are educated on how to respond to any alarming symptoms and how to recognize them. This has, in turn, helped mothers to deliver safely and become aware of any activities that may put both her and the child at risk.