Around the world, the population is growing. Countries are becoming aware of this rapid growth as infant mortality rates drop and the average living age increases. However, this is not the case for every country. There are many countries that have seen a decline in population or cannot drop infant mortality rates. This type of problem is a figure dealt with in Africa. Infant mortality and young deaths are still at a high. These figures are mostly influenced and impacted by poverty.
A study in South Africa has proven that children living and growing up in poverty, impacts a child’s development long-term. In South Africa, at least sixty percent of the population is children that are poor. This is 18.5 million children that risk missing out on an “education, employment or any type of health benefits throughout their lives.” The 2012 Child Gauge states that children who grow up poor and in poverty are more likely to remain poor. This is due to the fact that there is generally “no change in the pattern of relative deprivation over time.” Cognitive development is most effective and impacted between the time a child is born more to the age of five. In places such as South Africa, more than two-hundred million children five years and younger were “held back by poverty, ill-health, and under nutrition.” There is still a high death rate of young children and this “inequality and poverty, combined with HIV, has reduced life expectancy at birth,” as explained by Dr. Max Price. Due to the health issues of young children along with living in poverty, education is not being delivered and the education to those who are able to go, is not being delivered at a quality geared towards enabling the next generation to escape poverty.” This binds those born in poverty to poverty. The cycle once again continues. A family strives for more and more kids on very little money, with unsustainable resources and water, causing infant mortality and unnourished children that are then greatly impacted by their living condition.
South African children are being left behind and with no voice. These young children are brought into a world of pain and hunger and are unable to speak or do anything about it. It is heartbreaking to think of all the children who die or suffer from hunger, diseases and lack of education due to the economic conditions they were born in. Something needs to happen and happen fast, before poverty takes the lives of hundreds of more children.
Hannah Bay Snider