Decreasing Infant Mortality Rates by Equalizing the Playing Fields: Changing a Country’s status from ‘Developing’ to ‘Developed’

How ideal would it be if we could experience diversity on an ‘equal playing field’? Everyone has the same opportunities, access, rights, support, and guidance lined up for them as they enter the world.

The disparities between the developed and the developing world are heartrending. The 2012 Population Reference Bureau (PRB) reports that for “more developed” countries the Infant Mortality Rate (IMF) is 5; the probability of dying between birth and 1 year of age expressed per 1000 live births (unicef.org). While for “less and least developed” countries the IMF is between 45 and 72. What a difference!

Let us compare the developed and the developing world a little more. According to the PRB 2012 data, the percent of population with HIV/Aids in the “more developed” world is .3 while in the least developed world the percentage of population with HIV/Aids is 9 times more at 2.7. NINE TIMES MORE!

graph

Source: United Nations Population Division, World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision, medium variant (2011). (Extracted from PRB

The Gross National Income per capita for developed countries is $33,460 US dollars while for least developed countries is much less at $1,440. As projected on the graph above, PBR also note that by the year 2050, “nearly all the future population growth will be in the World’s less developed countries.” In other words, the countries with the highest Infant Mortality Rates, highest percent HIV/Aids, the countries with ‘low income, high economic vulnerability, poor human development indicators’ will get the most population growth! Is it just me or is there something very wrong about our world future predictions?

‘Correlation does not mean causation’ but can low/negative outcomes be any more correlated to being a ‘developing, less or least developed’ country?

If we focused on raising the status of the developing countries to a state of being “developed,” it may allow for the focus and importance of outcomes on every level of the social ecological model at the same time. All levels working to reach a common objective, but using different lenses and bringing forth different outputs allows for the evaluation and strengthening of the WHOLE country instead of only one important area.

For instance, while one output focus can be increasing use of family planning on an individual behavior change level, at the same time another output focus can be on economic policies to develop the economy. The two output goals may be unrelated but important to support the success of achieving one another’s goals. Developing the economy and job market may indirectly lead to an increase in family planning because more opportunities to work may change a families desire to have kids, or the times they have kids because they may want to take time to work. At the same time, focusing on family planning may lead to increase in economy because the more people can be trained to join the workforce instead of being tied down at home consistently because of pregnancies ect.

On the other extreme, without the focus on the economy simultaneous to the focus on family planning, desired outcomes may not be achieved as high as we want or at all on both sides. So putting priority on all levels and perspectives could not only provide achievement of more outcomes more effectively but also, by redirecting the focus of each activity to a bigger common objective, could increase the overall development status of the WHOLE country not just in one field of the country.

The Social-Ecological model shows us the significance of each and the interactions between different levels in order to address and improve the WHOLE system. How can we approach a country by just tackling one problem, such as Infant Mortality, when the other parts of the country’s systems that are pertinent to achieving the most efficient outcomes for tackling our problem of interest, need support as well? How can we say we are helping developing countries move forward if they stay “developing” at the end of the intervention?

rope

Today, we see that the countries who have a ‘developed or more developed’ status have better outcomes than those who do not in many fields that impact an individual’s or society’s quality of life. So why don’t we focus our individual efforts from different fields and goals to reach one common objective. Combining forces, visions, resources to move a whole population up levels in status all at once. Instead of having a country walk across 1 rope, with a higher risk of losing balance and falling, why don’t we create a strong foundation, with collective efforts, the whole population can easily walk across?

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