25 February 2014

Save the Children #FirstDay Campaign

I recently attended a Save the Children blogger conference. As I heard aid workers talk about the vital work they do - taking care of the children in conflict and natural disaster - my thoughts turned to my own children. If they had been unlucky enough to be born into war, my boys may have been forced to train as soldiers. You can not imagine what that must be like for them. My heart breaks thinking of those little boys holding guns.

You would imagine that all parents love their children as much as we love ours, and that is why we feel such empathy. I heard a story of one man who said he had to force himself not to love his children so much in case something happened to them. That's not right. That's really not right.

Save the Children's new campaign, launching today, is

The problem:
For a mum or dad, the first day of a child’s life should be a time of excitement, wonder and hope. A day they will remember forever. But childbirth is often complicated and a newborn child is frighteningly vulnerable.

Every year 2.9 million babies die in their first month. Maybe their tiny airways get blocked, the delivery is obstructed or they are exposed to infections or hypothermia.

Newborn deaths now account for nearly half of all under-five deaths.

The death of one baby is a tragedy. The death of 2.9 million a year is an outrage. And most of these deaths are preventable, with the help of a trained and equipped midwife along with basic medicines such as antiseptics and antibiotics, vital equipment and a clean environment to work in.

These are not difficult things to provide: all it takes is political will from governments around the world to provide the funds to train up and equip midwives.

The world has made amazing progress in saving children’s lives over the past two decades. Thanks to global action on vaccines, family planning and treatment of childhood illness, the number of children who die each year has dropped from 12.6 million in 1990 to 6.6 million in 2012. Save the Children’s social media campaigners have helped us drive so much of this change.

But that isn’t enough – not while 2.9 million babies a year never reach their second month of life. Lack of political focus on newborn deaths is blocking us from being the generation to stop all preventable child deaths.

2014 gives us a unique opportunity to make change happen: For the first time ever, countries and institutions around the world will sit down to agree the Every Newborn Action Plan. We need to make sure world leader’s take action on this and know the world is calling for them to do so.

What we want to achieve:

Save the lives of 2 million newborn babies a year
Ensure that every baby is born with the support of a trained and equipped midwife

How can people help?

Save the Children are asking bloggers the question ‘What did your midwife do that made sure your baby had a second day?’ This is my answer:

When Presley was born, our midwife, Helen, noticed that he wasn't breathing properly. There had been meconium in my waters when they broke, a sign that the baby may be distressed. He was grunting. Helen arranged for Presley to be taken immediately to the Special Care Baby Unit, where he spent his first day in an incubator. This ensured he had a second day. He is now a strapping six year old. I am incredibly grateful for my midwife's actions on my first day as a mother.

Join Save the Children for a #firstday twitter chat on Tuesday 25th Feb

On Tuesday 25th February Save the Children will be holding a #firstday twitter chat from 1 – 2pm to launch their new campaign. Their campaign aims to end first-day deaths as we believe that no-one should have just one #firstday. Join @thinlyspread & @savechildrenuk who will be hosting the chat to talk about the favourite first days you and loved ones have had – was it a first day at school or a new job or the first day of being a brother or sister? We’ll also be joined in the twitter chat by Nigerian midwife Catherine who will tell us what a baby’s #firstday is like in remote health clinics in Nigeria.

If you’ve only got one minute:

Sign our petition to ask David Cameron to put a global plan into action in 2014 that will ensure every baby is born with the life-saving help of a trained and equipped midwife and use his influence to get world leaders to do the same.

Text a donation: a donation of £3, the price of a cup of coffee, could save 10 newborn lives by buying 10 tubes of antiseptic cream. Text COFFEE to 70090



  1. Love how by bloggers coming together we can make a huge noise and see vital changes put in place. You really get the points across so well

    1. @Kate, thank you, it just shows how much noise we can make when we come together

  2. Sandy, thank you so much for your support on this one (again!) I love that your boy is called Presley, I'd forgotten that, fab name and phew to your midwife!


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