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Actor Ashley Jensen recently visited Delhi in India to see how Save the Children is progressing in its efforts to get better access to health services into the poorest neighborhoods of the world.

With UN countries’ commitment to reduce child mortality by 2015, there is still enormous need. More than eight million children under the age of five die every year, according to Save the Children.

Visiting women in their homes and the alleyways of a slum, Jensen was deeply struck that so many of the deaths of mothers and babies could simply be prevented with inexpensive medicines and basic knowledge. Touring with a midwife trained by Save the Children, Jensen saw her give ante-natal check-ups, advise on dietary requirements during pregnancy, monitor the growth of babies and children and provide vaccinations.

“If there were more health workers to advise the women,” says the midwife, “then more births that take place at home would take place in hospital instead.”

When she finds cases where treatment is required during her visits, the midwife sends patients to a Save the Children mobile clinic. Of the 140 people the clinic treats on average daily, most are children with diarrhea and worms.

Agreeing that there is a need for more health care workers in such areas, Save the Children took their No Child Born to Die campaign to a UN summit in New York. They are pleased with the resulting 25 new commitments that include measures to increase the number of midwives, nurses and doctors.

“Health workers save lives,” says Jensen, “but there just aren’t enough of them.”

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