From the Field

Health: Signs of progress and reasons to hope

At their home in India, Monika, 22, and her 3-year-old son, Ayush, gaze at Monika’s youngest child, 1-month-old Rishika, peacefully sleeping. When she was carrying Rishika, Monika lost weight because of nausea and vomiting. She turned to another mother, Neha, a World Vision-trained volunteer, for support. Neha provided iron and calcium supplements and advised her to eat the simple, easily digested food she needed to deliver a healthy baby.

Hope brings joy, doesn’t it?

When you find yourself thinking that there’s no news but bad news in this world, think again. There are so many reasons to rejoice in the Lord!

Thank God for these signs of progress in healthcare being made around the world to save children’s lives and provide them with a healthy future.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.—Romans 12:12 (NIV)

1. More mothers and children are surviving and thriving.

Since 1990, the worldwide rate of deaths of children under age 5 has declined by 58%. At the same time, the rate of women dying in childbirth or from birth complications dropped by 38%.

Many factors contribute to these improved outcomes. Better nutrition and access to quality healthcare give new moms and their babies a healthy start. Improved water and sanitation prevent many preventable killer diseases and boost a child’s immune system. Kids and moms fare better under stable governments that support social improvements. And World Vision helps girls stay in school longer and get a better education so they can avoid child marriage and high-risk teen pregnancies. Educated girls have fewer children and are better able to take care of them.

Dear God, we give You thanks for every precious mother and child whose life has been saved. Give us courage and strength to extend Your love to more mothers and kids so that they may enjoy fullness of life. 

Give: The first weeks of life are a critical time for babies and their moms. Your gift of a new mother and baby kit can boost a baby’s chance to live a long, healthy life.

A Cambodian mother brings her baby to a health center for vaccinations and well-baby check-ups.
A Cambodian mother brings her baby to a health center for vaccinations and well-baby check-ups. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Makara Eam)

2. Vitamin A supplements help keep children healthy.

Vitamin A supplements have been shown to reduce child deaths by as much as 24% in low- and middle-income countries. That means 600,000 lives saved by preventing measles, diarrhea, and other childhood illnesses.

Vitamin A boosts growth and enhances a child’s ability to resist or bounce back from infectious diseases, as well as helping to prevent blindness. For children who don’t get enough eggs, fortified milk, or orange and yellow vegetables and fruits in their diet, a couple of high dose capsules costing just a few pennies each and given between birth and 59 months can change health outcomes for the better. That’s why World Vision includes Vitamin A as part of its early childhood interventions.

Heavenly Father, giver of every good and perfect gift, we desire to be Your instruments to bring fullness of life to every child. Please give us both the will and the means to make life better for every child we serve. 

Give: Your gift of life-saving medicine and supplies, matched with five times the amount of donations from pharmaceutical and medical supply companies, assure that health clinics have the antibiotics, antimalarial medications, deworming medication, Vitamin A, and more to keep children well.

A baby receives oral polio vaccine drops at a World Vision-supported health center in Uganda.
A baby receives oral polio vaccine drops at a World Vision-supported health center in Uganda. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

3. Immunizations prevent between 2 and 3 million deaths each year.

Vaccinations against tuberculosis, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and measles save about 2.5 million lives each year. In fact, taking immunizations to children in every corner of the world has likely saved more lives than any other health activity of the past 50 years.

More than 25 dangerous and debilitating diseases — including tetanus, diarrhea, measles, pneumonia, and polio — can be stopped in their tracks by timely vaccinations. In addition to saving lives, vaccinations help children maintain healthy immune systems and lead an active life. For example, 86% of the world’s children under age 1 received three doses of the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine in 2018. Yet it’s important to keep up the investment in vaccine coverage by increasing the vaccination rate of each year’s newborns.

Dear Lord, we know that every child is created in Your image and deserves our care. Renew our dedication to following Your example as a friend and healer for children in need around the world. 

Give: Reach out to families in need around the world with a gift of medicine. Through community health workers and clinics, children and families will receive anti-parasitic drugs, deworming medications disposable syringes, gastrointestinal drugs, painkillers, and more.

4. Clean water and sanitation support healthy kids and communities.

A baby splashing in the bath, a mom drinking sparkling clean water from a glass, and children washing their hands with soap and water after using the toilet — these are a few signs of the healthy life that people enjoy when they have access to clean water and sanitation.

Between 1990 and 2015, 2.6 billion people gained access to clean water, resulting in an amazing boost in global health. World Vision is the leading nongovernmental provider of clean water in the developing world, reaching more than 12.7 million people with clean water in three years. We also reinforce the health benefits of clean water by building latrines and teaching good hygiene behaviors in schools and health centers.

Jesus, who quenches thirst with living water, help us to follow Your example and mirror Your kindness and generosity as we bring clean water to people around the world. 

Give: Your gift of a safe school latrine is a vote for education in the developing world. Girls and boys live healthier and stay in school longer when they have separate latrines, with handicapped access, and hand-washing stations.

Children drink clean water from a gravity-fed system World Vision installed in Kesot village in Kenya. They used to walk 6 kilometers a day to help bring home dirty water.
Children drink clean water from a gravity-fed system World Vision installed in Kesot village in Kenya. They used to walk 6 kilometers a day to help bring home dirty water. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

5. More people have access to quality healthcare.

Healthcare is getting better and more accessible globally, according to results from The Lancet medical journal’s study on the global burden of disease. In 2016, the access and quality score was 54.4, up from 42.4 points in 2000. There have been major improvements in health services, especially in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Myanmar, and Cambodia, where World Vision sponsorship programs support healthcare improvements, including training and supplying community health workers and providing medicines, equipment, water, and sanitation for clinics. The 21st century has seen millions more people get access to life-saving insecticide-treated bed nets, vaccinations, and prenatal care.

Loving Father, go with us as we seek to provide a helping hand to Your children around the world. May we serve you humbly, seeing Your face in every child we meet.

Give: Save lives in underserved communities with a gift of healthcare and medicine.

Women and children wait for treatment at Kigogo Heath Clinic in Rwanda. The clinic’s maternity ward was funded by World Vision, which also furnished the clinic’s water system.
Women and children wait for treatment at Kigogo Heath Clinic in Rwanda. The clinic’s maternity ward was funded by World Vision, which also furnished the clinic’s water system. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

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