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Newspaper Page Text
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THE BABY DEATH RATE THE REAL PROBLEM
IS THE BABIES OF THE POOR
If Uncle Sam kept as careful a
watch of his" babies as he does of pigs
and cows and bank clearings and fac
tory output and real estate transfers
and business failures, this govern
ment would be able to save' the babies
of the poor. Saving the babies of
the poor is the real problem involved
in the enormous infant death rate in
the United States.
But Uncle Sam hasn't the idea yet
He thinks mostly about pigs and cows
and business, and, now and then, in a
reflective sort of way, talks about
getting some statistics of the baby
Just as though it made any differ
ence whether the exact number is
300,000 in a year or 100,000 in a year.
Everybody knows it's somewhere be
tween those two big figures. The
time is here to do real things, not
pile up tables of statistics.
From New Zealand we get the
story of doing things to save baby
In one city in New Zealand Dune
din, a place of 50,000 inhabitants as
the result of a really determined
baby-saving campaign, the percent
age of infant deaths has in five years
been reduced from 8 to less than 4.
A big-hearted doctor, Truby King,
started the ball rolling. He inspired
and guided the organization of a so
ciety, with which, pretty soon, nearly
everybody was co-operating. It
hired nurses and built hospitals and
started upon a campaign to teach ev
ery parent in the neighborhood how
to get ready for baby, what to do
when baby came, how to feed baby
how to do all these things- some
how or other (with help if neces
sary), even if fathers wages were
only $2 a day.
This service was free, but those
who could were invited to contribute
to carry on the work. Any mother
whose baby wasn't doing very well
could have a nurse or a doctor or
could go with baby to a hospital to
have the trouble looked into.
There hasn't been any magic in
this New Zealand experiment. No '
wonderful new discoveries have been
evolved. All the processes are fa-'
miliar to doctors, nurses and moth
ers elsewhere. What was new was '
the willingness of a whole commun-
ity to join in a fine pursuit of baby
culture to join in saving babies no
matter how poor they were.
We could do as well here. '
But remeber this: Statistics in
the- children's bureau at Washington
won't save many babies. Rules and '
advice from the health office won't '
save a great many babies.
If you want to save the greatest
number of babies you'll have to take
your advice to poor mothers in $2-a-day
and $1-a-day homes, and make '
possible for them to apply good feed- '
mg, good air, care, all three of which
"I hear Mrs. Hubbylove is starting
out on the matrimonial sea again."
"Yes. She is taking a third mate." t
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