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As Mother's Day approaches, Canadians will be celebrating the people who brought us into this world and nurtured us as we developed. Most of the adulation will be due to social graces, such as care, kindness, and those life lessons that always come in handy. But there are other reasons -- specifically molecular -- making Mom a baby's best ally.
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"Breast is best, but follow with the bottle."
Every day approximately 830 mothers around the world die due to pregnancy and childbirth complications. Most of these are preventable deaths. That's why improving childbirth outcomes was a critical issue at the recent G7 Health Ministers meeting attended by Canada.
One of the mothers said to me, "As a mother of a malnourished baby, I am so thankful to be learning how to make this porridge!" She was not embarrassed, nor was there stigma, rather, she was thankful that World Vision was there to help.
As a child advocate, I recently had the opportunity to travel to Cambodia to see some of the work World Vision is doing to make a difference. It was the first time I took my sons to see how many people in developing countries live. I tracked my experience in this travel journal.
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They are now pleading with politicians to grant paid parental leave in the United States.
When I was 25-years-old and early on in my medical training, I got a phone call from my mom one day. With no preamble, she blurted out, "She's gone!" At first, I didn't know who mom was talking about. Then she said the name. It was Esther, my infant niece.
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Baby formula is a big killer in less developed countries, but even where access to health care is good, not breastfeeding increases illness. Yet companies are still allowed to use advertising to convince parents to use their products. Those looking to make a buck from the product have no business "educating" about it.
Apart from those in the medical profession, there can't be many men in the world who saw as many babies being born this year as I did. I wanted to start at the beginning -- at the birth of a child -- to see how poverty might impact on the life of an infant. Making this film vividly brought home the fact that we shouldn't accept poverty as an inescapable and fixed fact of life.
There are more people in the world, yet we are collectively more free and prosperous. Global cooling and the viral Armageddon never happened. Communism ended, liberating Eastern Europe, all without a shot fired. Even the average IQ is -- amazingly -- trending up. The data is good. Really good.
One young doctor had to examine a sick child in a dim apartment because the electricity had been cut off. She said she'd never again do an assessment or write a prescription without wondering if paying for the antibiotic might mean no food on the table.