For more than 125 years, Johnson & Johnson has advanced the health and well-being of women, children and families around the world. I’m excited to share that I have been chosen to be one of 13 Johnson & Johnson Social Influencers for Social Good. As a JnJ Social Good Influencer, I will share many of the things that I have been sharing for the past few years, topics surrounding maternal, neonatal & child health.
Last week the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting was held in New York City, leading voices in global health gathered to discuss progress against the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Three of these goals are referred to as the “Health Goals,” they happen to be the three that I am most passionate about… they are focused on reducing child mortality (#4), improving maternal health (#5) and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases (#6).
These goals align with the Johnson & Johnson vision of a world in which women, newborns and children can survive and thrive wherever they live – a vision they have supported for generations. In 2010, Johnson & Johnson was one of the first private sector companies to pledge support to the Health Goals with a comprehensive, five-year commitment to reach as many as 120 million women and children a year by 2015.
Four years into the commitment, Johnson & Johnson has made real progress by expanding the number of health workers, piloting innovations and scaling up proven global health interventions in the following areas:
- Making childbirth safer;
- Reaching mothers with life-saving health information through their mobile phones;
- Eliminating mother to child HIV transmission;
- Treating children at-risk for intestinal worms and preventing the cycle of reinfection;
- Increasing research and development for new medicines to treat HIV, Tuberculosis and other conditions.
In the photo above, I visited with mothers that waited hours to be given a 3 cent gift of sight, gift of life, Vitamin A. Moms must make their way to this community health post that opens only once a month. A vitamin A-deficient child faces a 25 percent greater risk of dying from a range of childhood ailments such as measles, malaria, or diarrhea. Night blindness is today viewed not as a mild, early sign of Vitamin A deficiency, but as evidence of late, severe deficiency.
An estimated 250,000 to 500,000 vitamin A-deficient children become blind every year, half of them dying within 12 months of losing their sight. And nearly 600,000 women die from childbirth-related causes each year, the vast majority of them from complications that could be reduced through better nutrition, including provision of vitamin A.
With vitamin A capsules costing only 2 to 3 cents each, increasing vitamin A intake is now recognized as one of the most cost-effective public health interventions for child survival. The full cost of delivering the capsules to children ages six months to five years at six-month intervals is about 50 cents per child per year.
“70% of maternal and child deaths occur in 15 countries. 300,000 preventable female deaths and 5 million newborn deaths each year. The stakes are very high but the opportunities are enormous.” Leith Greenslade
Health Goals for women and Children – Fast Facts:
- Every day, approximately 800 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
- 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.
- Maternal mortality is higher in women living in rural areas and among poorer communities.
- Young adolescents face a higher risk of complications and death as a result of pregnancy than older women.
- Skilled care before, during and after childbirth can save the lives of women and newborn babies.
These are sobering numbers! Collaboration, innovative solutions and partnerships can help us to reach even more at-risk women and children and achieve the 4, 5 and 6 Millennium Development Goals.
The struggle is real, I experienced it firsthand when I visited Guatemala with Save the Children. These goals are attainable and must be met.
The conversation does not have to end with last weeks United Nations General Assembly. It must continue, and as mother’s, we can empathize and sympathize with our sisters around the world, we can use our voices to make a difference.
Learn more about how Johnson & Johnson is fulfilling their commitment to the Millennium Development Goals here.