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    Save the babies.

    Williams G

    WORLD HEALTH FORUM. 1986; 7(4):391-8.

    Between 1841 and 1901 infant mortality in England and Wales hovered around 150/1000 live births. In the 1st 30 years of the present century it plummeted to about 60/1000, and between 1931 and 1981 it fell to about 10/1000. This article shows how a broadly based social movement starting around the turn of the century brought about a child health revolution using the slogan, "Save the babies." Baby clinics were opened, milk depots were set up, and, most important of all, mothers were educated in child care. Concomitantly, social and economic progress was achieved, women's rights were improved, female literacy became the norm, and family planning became widespread. The situation is very different in developing countries. Here the infant mortality rate ranges between 50 and 230/1000 live births. In 1982, the United Nations Children's Fund launched a campaign to bring infant mortality below 50/1000 in every developing country by the year 2000. The main factors hindering a child survival revolution are social and political, not technical. The medical technology to bring about a dramatic reduction in infant mortality in developing countries is already at hand. Now needed, above all, is sustained, broad-based campaigning to convince the decision-makers of the world that a child survival revolution is indeed possible.
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