What We Are Doing

Babies and mothers join Race for Survival in Bolivia 27 Aug 2015

Written by Nina Kuhnel, Save the Children Bolivia | Photos by Fabiola Calderon and Lupe Otondo, Save the Children Bolivia 
“Every child has the right to survive” was the key message under which the crawling race of 19 babies aged six to ten months took place on August 25th, 2015 in Oruro, alongside with a march of about 300 pregnant women, mothers and their children.
Due to the high numbers of maternal and neonatal death in Bolivia, this years’ race was organized under the heading of improving access and health care services for women and their children. Save the Children together with the Departmental Health Service of Oruro (SEDES) and CECI organized the Race which consisted of two main activities:
A march of mothers, their children and pregnant women accompanied by Save the Children staff members, personnel from 19 different healthcare centers of the area, representatives of the Departmental Health Care Service (SEDES) of Oruro, our partner CECI, medical students from the Technical University of Oruro, a music band of the Kenedy school and SOS Children’s Villages through the city center of Oruro, carrying banners and signs promoting access to health care services for women and their children, free and adequate health care for them, regular check-ups during pregnancies, exclusive breastfeeding, and the rights of the children in general. “Giving life should not depend on luck”, was one of the clear demands raised.
The march led up to this years’ innovative highlight, which took place at a central square in Oruro. 19 babies, aged six to ten months old participated in a crawling race to draw attention to the importance of investment and comprehensive care during pregnancies and after birth that ensure the survival of children. “We (the parents) have to encourage the healthy development of our children.” says Josefina whose 10 months old baby girl Abigail participated in the crawling race. All babies were declared winners and received gifts that support their healthy development.
The race was accompanied by an official act and a health fair and was an overall success. “This is an event for the entire society”, says Claudia, mother of six months old Matteo. “I participated in the race because women have to learn how to take care of themselves and how to prevent premature births.” And Dr. Deisy López Peredo, Official of the Unit for Health Promotion of the SEDES Oruro expressed the commitment of the Municipal Government towards adequate health care for pregnant women and children. “We want that all children are treated well, that all pregnancies are planned pregnancies and that expecting mothers go to their regular check-ups, we promote exclusive breastfeeding and aim for keeping our babies healthy and safe.”