Maternal and Child Health in Bolivia
Millions of people who live in the South American
nation of Bolivia lack access to basic food requirements for a healthy diet,
making malnutrition a serious health issue. For pregnant women and children in
particular, the situation is even more severe. According to the Foundation for
Sustainable Development, Bolivia
has the second-highest infant, child and maternal mortality rates in the
Western Hemisphere, largely due to malnutrition.
The Importance of Proper Nutrition
Today, about 25 percent
of Bolivian children under the age of 3 are malnourished. This can cause
devastating, lifelong effects in these children, as it is crucial for them to
get the proper nutrients during the 1,000-day
window between their mother's pregnancy and their second birthday.
Undernutrition at this time can lead to developmental and psychological issues
that can affect children throughout their lives.
At the same time,
pregnant women who lack proper nutrition risk passing along other conditions to
their unborn children. For instance, the Foundation for Sustainable Development
reports that about 27 percent of Bolivian women of childbearing age suffer from
severe iron deficiencies, and will probably pass this condition on to their
children. Adding to this complication is the fact that mothers with
anemia are more likely to suffer from exhaustion, and may not be able to
properly care for their children and ensure they are developing properly,
according to UNICEF.
Lending a Helping Hand
To ensure Bolivian
children have a chance to grow up well-nourished, ChildFund
has participated in a wide range of projects in the country. For example,
with help from the Bolivia Ministry of Health, ChildFund has worked to ensure
Bolivian children receive the health care they need during the first two years
of their lives. Community health workers go to mothers' homes to ensure they are
feeding their children properly and to educate them about proper development
stimulation. In this way, we can make sure children are receiving the care they
need during the critical 1,000-day period.
One of the best ways you
can help us support Bolivian children is by sponsoring
a child. For $28 per month — around $1 per day — you can help these children
receive the nutrients they need to grow up healthily.