In the developing world, a child’s most critical years are from 0-5. This is the age where children are most vulnerable to sickness and disease. In fact, the majority of deaths in children under 5 are a result of preventable diseases.
Today, sub-Saharan Africa leads in global deaths for children 5 and under . . . and the lack of safe water is largely to blame. Contaminated water exposes children to dangerous parasites, limits good hygiene, and leads to malnutrition.
In our work over the years, we have identified three major threats to impoverished children from 0-5 years old:
Diarrhea is the most common water-related disease worldwide and is one of the leading causes of death in children under 5. It kills more children than malaria, measles, and AIDS combined.
Likewise, malnutrition is directly related to contaminated water. As children contract parasites by ingesting dirty water, their bodies have difficulty absorbing the nutrients they need. Over time, they begin to lose weight, can develop immune and skin problems, and grow consistently weaker. Without treatment, diarrhea and malnutrition combined are fatal for children under 5.
Three-year-old Imelda was brought to our Rescue Center in Guatemala with two of her brothers. They are being treated for malnutrition as a result of dirty water and are expected to make a full recovery!
Stagnant water is a breeding ground for malaria-transmitting mosquitos—a deadly threat for nearby communities, particularly for pregnant women and children. Approximately 90 percent of all malaria-related deaths occurred in Africa in 2014, claiming the lives of more than 400,000 children under the age of 5.
As equally tragic as these deaths is the knowledge that they can be prevented—and clean water is the starting point.
If we want to reduce the deaths of children 5 and under, we must first start with the best prevention of all . . . safe water.
With the help of compassionate supporters, World Help is working to provide clean-water projects in some of the neediest villages and communities . . . areas where children are suffering the most.
As World Malaria Day approaches, we urge you to consider giving clean water to those who are defenseless against preventable sicknesses and disease. Learn more about our approach, and the life-changing difference clean water can make for children under 5.