My mind drifted all day and one thing that I kept coming back to was this map. It charts the infant mortality rate across the world. The number of infant deaths under one year of age per 1,000 births. Ethiopia's number is 81. That's almost 10%. And they are nowhere near top of the list. In fact, they are number twenty. In Angola the infant death rate more than doubles to 180. Afghanistan, 152.
If a baby is lucky enough to survive birth, the next statistic to conquer is the child mortality rate. One of unicef's goals is to reduce the child mortality world wide.
About 29,000 children under the age of five – 21 each minute – die every day, mainly from preventable causes.
More than 70 per cent of almost 11 million child deaths every year are attributable to six causes: diarrhoea, malaria, neonatal infection, pneumonia, preterm delivery, or lack of oxygen at birth.
These deaths occur mainly in the developing world. An Ethiopian child is 30 times more likely to die by his or her fifth birthday than a child in Western Europe. Among deaths in children, South-central Asia has the highest number of neonatal deaths, while sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates. Two-thirds of deaths occur in just 10 countries.
And the majority are preventable. Some of the deaths occur from illnesses like measles, malaria or tetanus.
The orphanage where Bekalu was for a brief moment before Gladney took him into their care lost SEVEN babies in one night last year. Seven babies. Why did these babies die? Chicken Pox. Yes, you read that correctly. Chicken Pox. The thought, no the reality of this breaks my heart into a million pieces.
I cannot imagine having a sick or hungry child and being able to do nothing. The problem feels so huge and massive when you look at the numbers doesn't it? I am not sure what the answer is really. But yesterday this information weighed on my heart. And it makes me so grateful that that my beautiful boy was not one of eight-one. So grateful he landed in Gladney's care and was matched with us...to be our son. I'm also thankful I myself was not born in an impoverished country that is war torn, or in the midst of famine and drought. Clean water (or WATER of any kind) is readily available, I don't have to decide whether to send my daughter to school or to collect water for her family. My fate not sealed merely by the location of my birth.
Today and everyday I'm thinking of all the strong mothers and fathers across the planet that are forced to hold broken hearts. Because a broken heart is a heavy load to carry.