In the developing world, the first five years of life are often the most difficult and challenging. Of the 17,000 children under age 5 who die each day, 73 percent die before their first birthday — nearly half within the first 28 days of life*. Compassion established the Child Survival Program in 2003 because we believe these obstacles to healthy development can be removed and because all children deserve to be given the best chance to reach their God-given potential.
Having a trained attendant at the time of birth is one of the most effective means of ensuring survival. Sadly, only 33 percent of births are attended among the world’s poorest. Today, we are happy to report that within Compassion programs, an attendant is present at more than 90 percent of births.
Survival efforts began in El Salvador in 2009, expanding into areas with the greatest need. There are more than 22,000 caregivers and 22,000 infants across the country. Through home visits, nutritional support, stimulation exercises and parental education, every one of these babies receives the developmental support they need to have the best start to life.
Intervening in the earliest stages of life, even before birth, is critical to saving lives and preventing needless suffering. In partnership with the local church, the Child Survival Program works with new and expectant mothers in their homes to ensure the health of her baby through:
- growth monitoring
- oral rehydration therapy
- breast feeding support
Despite significant progress through Compassion’s Child Survival Program, and global improvements, infant mortality continues to be an urgent issue in developing countries. In response, Compassion recently shifted the focus of its Child Survival Program to concentrate efforts on helping as many babies as possible reach their crucial first birthday.
Compassion church partners providing survival interventions support around 15 mothers and their babies at a time, until the baby reaches approximately 12 months. When babies reach their first birthday, they and their mothers transition seamlessly to the expanded sponsorship program while continuing to receive early childhood development supports at the church and at home. This allows a loving sponsor relationship to begin earlier and continue longer in speaking truth and love to that child. Around age 3, the children continue growing and developing at the church-based child development center.
Prior to this change, an average of 7,800 pregnant moms and babies less than one year of age benefited from survival services. As of June 2019, we were serving more than 22,000 beneficiaries under one year old. Additionally, with sponsorship beginning at age one, we are realizing reduced annual expenses of providing survival interventions for the church partners.
As a gracious supporter of Compassion’s survival interventions, you enable blessings to happen in the lives of impoverished babies. Thank you for your faithful support.
*According to UNICEF
Babies: The Child Survival Program