Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Save The Children says 200,000 Tanzanian children died because of poverty

Save The Children is taking the government of Tanzania to task for not doing more to protect the lives of children. The charity says that 200,000 children have died there in only a decade. Save The Children says that the only reason the children died was because they were poor, and more could have been done to prevent the deaths.

From the UKs Daily Record, writer Lachlan Mackinnon gives us more stats behind the statement while she travels Tanzania.

More than half of the country's population are children and 54 per cent of them are malnourished.

Babies account for 30 per cent of child deaths.

While the overall under-fives mortality rate fell from 157 per 1000 in 1990 to 139 in 2000 and 104 in 2008, Save The Children say deaths among the poorest children have remained stubbornly high.

Ten years ago, world leaders agreed on a set of international targets to cut poverty - including a commitment to slash child deaths by 67 per cent by 2015.

But the east African country of Tanzania - like dozens of others - is off-track, an issue world leaders will discuss at a UN summit in New York later this month.

The Record travelled around Tanzania - home of the Serengeti national park - with Save The Children to inspect attempts to cut child deaths and to listen to kids' and mothers' often-heartbreaking concerns.

At Nyango District Hospital in Lindi, as in the rest of the country, pregnant women and under-fives are treated for free.

But the plight of Zinabu Jafari, 41, suggests the system is fundamentally flawed.

Her newborn twins weigh just 1.9kg and 2.5kg and are expected to die without specialist hospital treatment to increase their size.

Yet, for no apparent reason, Zinabu - whose husband left her when he found out she was having twins - has been told she will be discharged from hospital.

The gran-of-one, whose eldest child is 25 years old, said: "My first five children were born at home because there was no hospital.

"The only problem I had was with my fourth children when I bled for a month about five months into my pregnancy but I was OK after that.

"My seventh child was born seven years ago and I had no idea I was going to have twins this time.

"When the first one came out I was surprised my abdomen was still large and was amazed when another baby came out.

"I don't know what has happened to my husband, just that he is leaving.

"I am not sure about my children's future.

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