Media Contact:Laura Blank
· Children born in France 43 times more likely to celebrate 5th birthday than those born in Chad
· World Vision calls on G20 leaders to renew efforts to tackle global food, hunger inequities
PARIS, 20 October 2011—World Vision congratulates President Sarkozy and Carla Bruni on the news a precious baby girl, Giulia, has joined their family. Baby Sarkozy is privileged to be born to such parents, and also to be born in France where she is 43 times more likely to celebrate her fifth birthday than a baby born this year in the former French colony, Chad. Carla Bruni had a safe delivery. A woman in France is 150 times more likely to survive pregnancy and childbirth than a woman in Chad. Their chances of survival are simply based on country of birth. As G20 leaders gather in France in two weeks, their congratulations to the Sarkozy family should be coupled with renewed efforts to tackle the unacceptable inequities in food security that have such a profound effect on child and maternal health.
“As the Sarkozy family celebrates the arrival of their daughter, too many families in developing countries still grieve the loss of their children from hunger and malnutrition. We want all children to have the same chance to survive and thrive as baby Giulia,” said Marie-Eve Coulomb, CEO of World Vision in France. “Investment in good health and nutrition in the first 1,000 days of each child’s life ensures their resilience to health threats and sets a strong foundation for their future as economically productive citizens. That’s why nutrition for pregnant and lactating women and their children under two must be given highest priority and support from the G20.”
In France, malnutrition is virtually unheard of in young children. However as one of the least developed countries in the world, Chad is the perfect example of a country in greatest need of G20 support. It is one of five countries where child mortality rates are highest in the world and least progress has been made in the last two decades.
Children in Chad are dying of things children in France so rarely die of—things like diarrhea, malaria and pneumonia. With approximately half of all children in Chad being malnourished, they die of minor childhood illnesses because they don’t have the strength to recover. About one-third of children could be saved with better nutrition and G20 food security measures could make that happen.
Carla Bruni gave birth in a clinic with a doctor who specializes in childbirth and has access to expert advice for her daughter. Mothers in Chad lack advice and support during pregnancy and in the critical days following childbirth, with the result that many lose their lives. Chad has the second highest maternal mortality rates worldwide. It’s estimated 80 percent of these deaths could be prevented if women had access to simple things like better nutrition, emergency care and a trained health worker during childbirth.
World Vision is particularly concerned about the poor state of health and nutrition for many of the world’s children – around 200 million children under five are chronically malnourished. To date, the G20 has identified the major causes of the hunger crisis and has supported a number of actions intended to reduce these problems such as the piloting of emergency food reserves, establishment of an agricultural market information system, acknowledging the importance of agriculture in improving child nutrition and continuing the implementation of the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative. However the G20 must go further than this.
While it does not have the sole responsibility, the G20 with its significant member resources and political clout is in a unique position to ensure that effective continuing mechanisms and strategies are in place to solve these problems. The nutrition of pregnant and lactating women and their children under two must be given our highest priority and the support of the G20. Children will continue to die unless leaders ensure simple and affordable measures reach the doorsteps of children and mothers in developing countries.
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About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Visit www.worldvision.org/press.