Care before and after birth
Since infant mortality is extremely high in some parts of the world, the first priority in promoting effective child development is to ensure that children survive the early years when they are most vulnerable to disease and malnutrition. That means educating the mother or primary caregiver, before and after her child is born, about providing critical care during the earliest years.
Our Child Survival Program provides education in these areas:
- Growth Monitoring — steady growth is a good sign of adequate nutrition
- Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT) — restores fluids lost to diarrhea
- Breast-feeding — promotes infant growth, facilitates bonding with the mother, and reduces incidence of illness
- Immunization — an effective way to reduce or eliminate many diseases that cause childhood death and disability
- Female Literacy — the mother's level of education is directly tied to child survival
- Food — food or supplements fight off malnourishment
- Family Planning — greater spacing between births allows the mother's body to be better prepared for the rigors of pregnancy and to provide greater attention to each child's needs
9 million children a year never make it to their fifth birthday
What's more, recent research in child development is clear: The first five years are a crucial period in the development of a child and this development directly affects the quality of adult life.
Brain development is almost wholly completed by age 2 and malnutrition rates peak at around 24 months of age. This implies the need for early interventions concerning:
- Fine/gross motor development
- Cognitive stimulation
- Socialization programs
- Exposure to Christian teaching and the gospel
This research suggests that it is crucial for Compassion to affect the lives of younger children during this crucial two-year window of development. Our Child Survival Program works — and pays big dividends as a child grows older.