Gerry Georgatos – Horrendous lies, moral abominations, unprincipled politics, reprehensible grim makings have culminated in a child aged less than 15 dying every five seconds. Horrendous lies include that the one that the world’s poor are being lifted from extreme poverty. More than seven out of every ten human beings live in poverty.

Moral abominations expose a humanity with more global wealth than ever before, with a capacity to provide universal health care, free quality education, equality, instead we live the marginalising of the majority of the earth’s billions of human beings.

According to the World Health Organisation the child mortality rates of some countries are up to 60 times of other countries.

Nearly seven million children aged less than 15 years die each year – one every five seconds.

Tragically, more than three-quarters of the child deaths occur in the first five years of life.

That wealthier nations, many made wealthy by historically and contemporaneously exploiting poorer nations, sit idly by while sisters and brothers in the poor nations lose their children. Foreign aid is pittance, a patronising return of the littlest.

Children dying every five seconds – the propaganda argues because of a lack of clean water and medicines but grim reality screams that society and infrastructure are denied by far flung forces which strip the resources from the homelands of the deprived while at best indenturing some of the local populations, whether it be a Haiti or Nigeria, as a worse than Dickensian drudgery-borne workforce.

Fifty million children aged five years or less will die by 2030, another 100 million by 2040. Another horrendous lie is that clean water and medicines will turn the tide, but without self-determining societies, without infrastructure and services borne of sovereign wealth the poverty that has been induced these last centuries, will remain.

We have become at best, developers of slum dwellers and refugee camps.

How is it that in the age of the internet we accept that seven-tenths of humanity is corralled in poverty?

Half of child deaths aged five years and less occur in the sub-Sahel. Nearly a third occur in southern Asia.

To contextualise let us compare – one in 13 children in the sub-Sahel die before the age of 5. In the world’s affluent countries, it’s one in 185.

We were not put on this earth – whether by a god or by nature – to bury our children. It’s against the grain. Ending this horror requires the call to a better world, to a fair world. Our time on this earth is a brief stretch and we need to galvanise change, to  away rationalise away our passion for self-interest to a passion for the welfare for others, for all of us.

The ages look down on us and do not understand why we have betrayed the gift of life. We deny others the 30,000 days on this earth that is their due. We deny others happy and healthy living. We deny ourselves peace.

Of the seven million children aged under 15 who die each year around the world at one every five seconds, well two and half million die in the first month of life.

A baby born in the lowest income countries is 9 times more likely to die in the first month of life than a baby born in a high-income country. Children born to parents without an education in low income countries are 18 times more likely to die in the first month of life.

In high income countries the poor endure 50 percent higher child mortality rates. Parents without a secondary education are twice more likely to lose a child before the age of five.

We should leave no one behind.

But we are told that more children are being saved than ever before; that 12 million children were being lost each year in the 1980s and that we have reduced this to less than seven million children dying in each of the last few years. This is true for now but with world poverty at risk of suddenly increasing, and it will, the future warns of the harrowing and of the never-before.
 


  • Gerry Georgatos is a suicide prevention and poverty researcher. He is also the national coordinator of the National Suicide Prevention & Trauma Recovery Project.
  • Crisis support services can be reached 24 hours a day: Lifeline 13 11 14; Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467; Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800; MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78; Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636.