This post, brought to you in collaboration with Save the Children India.
[two_one_first]ByÂ Pragya Vats:
Reshma, 20, lives in one of the slum clusters of India’s national capital. Pregnant for the first time, Reshma lost her child due to complications at the time of birth. The child suffocated in the womb and was still born. She did not have assistance from a trained birth attendant, instead her still born was delivered by an untrained midwife at home.
Reshma says, “My daughter was still born and she died right there…the girl’s head got stuck. She couldn’t get out. She suffocated inside.”
“How do I feel? If a mother lost her child, how does she feel? For nine months I carried her in the womb and I couldn’t save her.” Reshma looks despondently at us and mostly in the blank oblivion.
There is a sheer hopelessness in the story of many like Reshma who resign to such a fate.
India loses 14 lakh children, in other words one child every 20 seconds, highest anywhere in the world. More than three lakh babies die each year on the first day they enter the world. These are not random deaths beyond our control. Half of India’s women give birth without skilled birth attendant which puts both mother and child at risk.
Every night, millions of mothers in India around the world wish for their children to be safe, happy and healthy. It’s what they all want for their children. And it’s not too much to ask.Â Why still is life a lottery for children especially those who are poor?
There is a lot to be done to make India a safer and healthier place for a mother or a newborn. We have the resources and the know-how and we can save these precious lives.India’s economic growth is phenomenal. Its future is bright. So why is the nation of abundance, failing to make its children count?Â Many Indians are demanding an answer to this question.
Just like a child, a nation can’t grow big and strong without a nurturing start, and in a country’s case, that nourishment is healthy children. If we are to lead as a nation we must invest in our children and hence in the country’s future.
When I see, meet and hear about mothers like Reshma, it reminds me of things we take for granted- which are indeed matters of life and deaths for others; And above all denial of the most basic human right – Right to Life. Unless we begin to see the problem from the lens of Rights, the solutions will remain elusive for years to come.
India is gearing up for the elections; this election will not be business as usual. We must demand answers from our political representatives, let us hold them accountable so they keep their commitments in the next five years.
This is your chance to stand up for children, your chance to reclaim the rights of children. Like Nelson Mandela said “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”[/two_one_first][two_one_second]