Compassion Survival Fact Sheet

U.S. Media Contacts:

Tim Glenn (719) 272-5377 and Allison Wilburn (219) 384-8177

For all non-media related inquiries, please call (800) 336-7676, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. MT.

What is it?

Compassion Survival was launched in 2003 and is Compassion’s earliest intervention within the ministry’s holistic child development model to combat global infant and maternal mortality rates and promote early childhood development.

A young mother holding her infant child

The program helps when risk is highest-during pregnancy and the first year of life. By intervening within this critical timeframe, Compassion Survival aims to prevent deaths among pregnant mothers, newborns and infants in poverty, giving little ones the best possible chance to reach their first birthday. At one year, babies automatically move to Compassion’s Child Sponsorship Program.

Key Statistics

On a global scale, significant progress has been made as more children now survive their fifth birthday than ever before, but there is still much work to be done.

  • As of June 2018, 37,281 babies and their moms received lifesaving interventions through the Compassion Survival.
  • Annually, almost one million child deaths occur on the day of birth and close to two million children die in the first week of life due to causes like pre-term birth and delivery complications. 1
  • Approximately 830 women die each day from complications resulting from pregnancy or childbirth.2 Almost 99 percent of maternal and 90 percent of neonatal mortalities occur in the developing world. 2
  • Studies conducted in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan have shown that post-natal home visits — a key component of Compassion Survival — can reduce deaths of newborns in high-mortality developing country settings by 30-61 percent. 3
  • Every year, 2.6 million babies in poverty don’t survive the first 28 days of life. 4

Our Strategy

Babies and mothers (or caregivers) in this program receive home visits by church staff trained in child survival, who deliver essential physical, emotional and spiritual care before, during and after birth. Our story centers around four themes or “corners.”

A mother holding her infant child during a home visit

The Vision

The first week of a child’s life should not also be their last. Our vision is to secure a child’s opportunity to live. In some of the world’s most under-resourced communities, we are focused on providing culturally relevant services including skilled prenatal, birthing and post-partum care and support to dramatically reduce maternal and infant mortality rates.

The Reality

Pregnant moms in extreme poverty frequently lack prenatal care, a nurturing home environment, and access to necessary medical and social services. This puts the life of the mother at risk, and for the baby, the struggle to survive begins at birth.

The Solution

Compassion Survival serves pregnant mothers, primary caregivers and their babies during the child’s first 12 months, when infants are most at risk for illness and death. Our program trains and equips Survival Specialists from local, partnering churches to visit babies and moms in their homes and provide much-needed prenatal and medical care along with access to immunizations, food and safe water to meet critical physical needs.

The Impact

This final corner shares stories of the women and babies involved. An example of this is the story of Atsoupui Agbeve from Togo Africa. “During this pregnancy, I suffered so much that I lost hope. Pregnant women die with their children in our village here. I’m still alive with my child-it is thanks to Compassion,” said Atsoupui.

Educating mothers and caregivers about the basic tenets of healthy child development is a critical component to ensuring lasting, long-term results. Guidance and mentoring is provided on topics such as:

  • Health and nutrition
  • Hygiene
  • Fine/gross motor development
  • Cognitive Stimulation
  • Socialization
  • Spiritual development

As needed, mothers and babies are also provided with:

  • Prenatal care
  • Nutritious food and supplements
  • Delivery care via a trained childbirth attendant
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Regular health checkups and growth monitoring
  • Immunizations against deadly or disabling diseases

1 UNICEF, Levels and Trends in Child Morality Report, 2017
2 World Health Organization (WHO), Maternal Morality, 2018
3 WHO/UNICEF Joint Statement, Home visits for the newborn child: A strategy to improve survival, 2009
4 World Health Organization (WHO), Children Reducing Morality, 2017