MUMBAI—Kareena Kapoor Khan’s pregnancy was probably the most talked- about for any actor in the Indian film industry. The star went on to embrace pregnancy and motherhood and became an inspiration to every working mother.
As a UNICEF Advocate, Kapoor also launched the “Every Child Alive” campaign that speaks about the harsh reality of the deaths of millions of newborns from improper care and malnourishment.
Said Kapoor, “In our part of the world, one million babies die every year in the first month. 2,800 newborns die every day in South Asia before they even reach that age! This is both overwhelming and totally unacceptable to me, especially knowing that these deaths are preventable! UNICEF has launched its Every Child Alive campaign to speak out against this harsh reality. In South Asia, one in every 36 babies dies within a month. The latest UNICEF data shows that no region in the world is more dangerous than South Asia for newborns.”
She added, “It is both possible and doable to keep many more babies alive and healthy. The governments are doing everything they can to ensure adequate service delivery. However, I would like to reiterate that it is not only about governments doing their bit but it is about civil society taking relevant and collective action. As mothers and societies, we need to do three things.”
Kapoor’s three-point advice to new mothers is:
1) We need to feed our newborn babies in the best way that we can: with our breast milk. To give your baby the best start in life that he or she deserves, start breastfeeding within the first hour of life – and feed the baby only breast milk, nothing else.
2) We need to challenge harmful beliefs and practices that are putting our babies in danger. We need to entrust ourselves to skilled birth attendants, who are properly trained to look after us and our babies i. If these people are not available, we need to demand them. No woman should give birth without help from a trained birth attendant. It is too dangerous.
3) We need to look after our girls just as well as we look after our boys. As females ourselves, it is incredibly sad that baby girls do not always get the same care that baby boys do. If your baby girl becomes unwell, get help for them just as quickly as you would do for a boy.
She concluded, “It is time that we all make collective efforts to save newborns in the region. South Asia can become a region where it is very safe to be born. It is not that difficult. It is not that complicated. So, let’s get to work for our newborns.”