International (FH/MNN) — This year, 6 million fewer children will die before their fifth birthday than 25 years ago.
U.S. foreign assistance has played a leading role in achieving these results, dramatically improving children’s health and survival worldwide. Food for the Hungry (FH) is proud to work alongside USAID in its effort to end preventable child and maternal deaths in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
U.S. foreign assistance programs have helped cut in half the annual number of deaths of children under age 5 since 1990. In addition, diverse allies such as NGOs like FH, civic groups, faith and business communities, universities, and philanthropies have come together to leverage billions of private dollars for overseas health and development programs.
In Ethiopia, as part of a five-year development food aid program funded by USAID, FH is responding in vulnerable, chronically food-insecure areas with the aim to improve the health and nutritional status of women and children under 5 years.
Implementing well-tested, effective methods, FH has targeted more than 30,000 pregnant mothers and mothers with infants and more than 135,000 community members with a focus on improving their health and nutritional practices. The programs have also increased their access to nutritious food and clean water and improving household and community level sanitation practices.
In just two and a half years, considerable results have already been achieved.
“As a result of training and support, there has been a 25% increase in the number of mothers exclusively breastfeeding, resulting in 90% of all mothers utilizing this important practice,” said Craig Jaggers, FH/Ethiopia program director. “Of the surveyed households, the minimal accepted diet for children under 2 years was being met, as was not the case prior to program intervention.”
Other good work includes:
- A higher percentage of households appropriately treating cases of childhood diarrhea.
- With FH support, 70% of surveyed households were growing fruits and vegetables on their land for food and selling extra produce for income.
- Access to clean water increased by 11% among households.
- There was an 8% increase in households using improved sanitation facilities.
In Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), FH also is working to improve children’s nutrition. From 2011 to 2013, underweight children 0-59 months decreased from 26.5% to 17.5%. Children (6-23 months) who receiving an acceptable diet improved from 11.6% to 77.7%.
Despite these results, 6.6 million children under age 5 will not reach their birthdays this year, dying mainly from preventable diseases. Now is the time to re-commit our investments in life-saving programs, providing millions of children the opportunity to survive and thrive beyond their fifth birthday.
Is God burdening your heart with care for the children of the world? You can begin helping by asking Him where He wants you to get involved. Find opportunities at www.fh.org or www.5thbdayandbeyond.org.