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Saving lives in the Philippines

A typhoon has hit the Philippines. The devastation is truly awful. What makes me proud though is the skill and dedication of our field staff who are there now.

Our work to save children’s lives involves both immediate work (as in these disaster responses) and more systemic change (as in the EVERY ONE campaign’s calls for policy changes to ensure every child has a chance to survive).

I recently met a child who had survived the Nargis cyclone in Burma/ Myanmar. His aunt told me his story…

His mother had died in the cyclone. His aunt had taken him in as her own son, but she did not how to feed a baby that was not her own and he had lost a lot of weight. They still have a photo of that time – the baby’s figure was skeletal. But when I met the baby he was a quite a podgy little boy. She explained how.

A Save the Children community health worker had found her and the baby, organized emergency nutrition, and showed the aunt (now the adoptive mother) how to relactate – that is, how to breast feed this nephew when the last time she had breastfed her own child was nine years ago. The adoptive mother told me that the Save the Children health worker was her hero.

Then the health worker interrupted. No, she said, the adoptive mother was her hero: “She saved this child; I just showed her how.” To me it was an inspiration for why the EVERY ONE campaign is so important. Because most child deaths are preventable, and Save the Children knows how to prevent them.

The campaign is to ensure that everyone who can help save a child’s life does everything they can – NGOs, the private sector, governments and communities. The purpose of the campaign is to reach out not just to one child, or ten thousand, but to EVERY ONE.

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