Tag: Child Survival

HHI Saves Lives of Orphans – A Claim That is Not Too Big!

Caregivers during an HHI Training – singing and dancing with the babies

When I talk to people directly about the impacts of HHI’s work in orphanages, one of the things I tell them is that several orphanages I have visited have reported that, “after HHI training, children die less often.” This is an amazing and almost breath-taking claim – that when HHI trains orphanage caregivers how their direct actions, their nurturing, snuggling and simple acts of love and kindness actually can mean the difference between life and death for a baby! This was proven in studies in orphanages in Eastern Europe after World War II, that children in institutions who were only given food and water often died. What they lacked was love – what could be a more basic human need?

I was asked by a friend yesterday why I have never really publicized this profound outcome of HHI and I admitted that I was afraid that it might make HHI look too grandiose, that we were making outrageous claims and that we could somehow loose credibility. She looked at me with a bit of confusion and again asked, “yeah, but you have heard orphanage directors – several of them – tell you that babies hadn’t died since HHI’s training?” My answer, “Yes, more than once”.

Then, today’s NY Times ran a story about orphanages in Sudan that yet again showed demonstrable proof that teaching and supporting orphanage caregivers to show love to the children kept children from dying. A clip from their article reads, “Nurses are trained to hold and play with the children as they feed and care for them. Medical care has vastly improved. In 2001, 479 children died. In 2006, 186 did, according to UNICEF.”

This is exactly what HHI teaches (and so much more!) – and like this important experiment, HHI is saving lives!

To learn more about HHI’s Early Childhood Development Curriculum, see the Table of Contents and Excerpts.

See the whole article at NY Times article at: Overcoming Customs and Stigma, Sudan Gives Orphans a Lifeline, April 5, 2008.

Investing in Child Health – a "course to a better future"

“Investing in the health of children and their mothers is a sound economic decision and one of the surest ways for a country to set its course towards a better future,” said Joy Phumaphi, vice president of Human Development at the World Bank. She is speaking after the release last week of UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children 2008 report.

With Child Survival as the theme for the report this year, UNICEF acknowledged the central role that front liners (such as the ICDS teachers HHI trains in India) play in saving lives of children. The report speaks to a variety of ways that child mortality can be reduced, stating that currently 26,000 children under age 5 day each day from preventable causes. The child mortality rates are most atrocious in Africa, as high as 1 in 6 children under 5 dying. I am beyond eager to see HHI get started in Africa! And, in India, Orissa is tied as the state with the highest child mortality rate – and we just began our work there last summer.

I believe that HHI is not “the solution”, but I do believe that we are a simple, cost effective and and critical part of a easily scalable larger solution. We have just finished our new and expanded curriculum and we are doing everything in our power to now spread the word and get our services out into the world. To this end, I will spend next week in DC meeting with a variety of international child health groups to find ways to take HHI to the children who need us most.