Today from Niger I ask for your help

Today I call you to action. Every day, 7000 babies are left without a chance to live. Together we can avoid it.

Dr. Lucía Galán Bertrand
Today from Niger I ask for your help
UNICEF Niger/2018/Haro

25 October 2018

“UNICEF received financial support from the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation to address child malnutrition in Niger”

Seeing the double line in the predictor announcing the good news for all who read these lines today, is one of the sweetest moments of our lives.

We are going to be parents!

Who has not cried at that moment? Who has not trembled the pulse, the voice and even the soul? You remember? It was like yesterday but it's been more than 11 years now.

And tell me, what is the first thing you did when you knew that you were expecting a child?

Most of us look for a name, the name. In fact, many times we even thought about it even before being pregnant, before even deciding that it was time to bring a life to the world, right?

Bring a life to the world ... will there be something bigger?

Well, did you know that every day, 7000 of those lives that come to the world, die before their first month? Every day. That means almost 5 deceased children per minute, day after day. Moreover, when you have finished reading this post a dozen of them will no longer be with us.

And did you know that 80% of these deaths are preventable? Preventable with basic measures such as water, sanitation, soap, antibiotics, vaccines, food and mosquito nets.

Today from Niger I ask for your help
UNICEF Niger/2018/Haro

You read me from Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world, here I leave the ranking. Do you believe me if I say that here some children are not named at birth? Life here is too short and uncertain. Not naming a baby allows it to be easier to forget. Or not ... who is able to forget such a loss? It hurts only when you think about it, when writing it.

But the truth, the harsh reality in this country is that 95 out of every 1000 children who are born, die. This is almost 10% ...

Mothers have an average of 7 children and 58% of the population are children, many of them immersed in the most absolute poverty you can imagine.

This is devastating. I hope to be able to transmit with words and videos that I will upload to the different networks, what I am seeing, feeling and living here.

But still, there is a hopeful path. In the last decade, thanks to humanitarian aid and thanks to organizations like UNICEF with which I am here today, the infant mortality rate has gone from 328 to 95 deaths per 1000 births. And this in 10 years, do you realize what we could achieve in another ten years?

Today from Niger I ask for your help
UNICEF Niger/2018/Haro

Today I call you to action. Every day, 7000 babies are left without a chance to live. Together we can avoid it.

Will we be able to mobilize 7000 people to give a name, to give a life to a newborn?

I think so. That's why I'm here.

How much does it cost to save a life?

  • 1 dose of tuberculosis vaccine for the baby
  • 5 doses of tetanus vaccine. With 3 doses the baby is immunized and with 2 more also to the mother.
  • 1 mosquito net to protect the baby against malaria
  • Soap and gloves to ensure that delivery takes place in minimal hygienic conditions

With this kit, we protect the baby and the mother in prepartum (tetanus), during childbirth (gloves and soap) and in the postpartum (tuberculosis and mosquito nets) and we help a child survives its first 28 days.

Each kit can save a life, so with our challenge we could save up to 7,000 lives.

I have to confess something: a few days before leaving, I sat with my children at the kitchen table. Containing emotion and disguising this inevitable fear of what I was about to live, I explained step by step what we would do here.

“Why do you have to go, Mommy, if you were in Senegal last year? Let's see if something is going to happen,” my son said in a trembling voice.

I’m going there, darling, because I have assumed this challenge and this responsibility. I'm going because even though I'm a pediatrician, I have not felt as useful as I've been until now. I’m going because those children who die every day, deserve another different life, they deserve at least a chance to live. And I'm going above all because I plan to return to continue telling the world the need to help those who need us the most.

While I kissed my son and hugged him hard, my daughter Covi appeared in the kitchen with part of her savings.

Take mom, with this there are for a few kits, and for a few lives.

Thanks to all of you for your collaboration.

See you soon!

Today from Niger I ask for your help
UNICEF Niger/2018/Haro