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Child Health

It is very clear that [Calcutta Kids’] work is making a huge difference in the lives of kids and their families. [My wife and I are] particularly impressed with the kind of dedication we saw in the Calcutta Kids team. I am led to believe that our small contribution was a worthy investment. My wife has now become an ambassador of Calcutta Kids — whomever she meets, she talks about [their] good and interesting work.

— Mushtaque Chowdhury, Former Vice Chair of BRAC and Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

The problem

Child mortality

In India, more than 2 million children under 5 years old die each year of preventable causes.

Most neonatal deaths are caused by one of the following:

  • Prematurity and low birth weight
  • Neonatal infections
  • Birth asphyxia and birth trauma

Most deaths of children under 5 years old are caused by one of the following:

  • Malnutrition
  • Pneumonia
  • Diarrheal diseases

Child morbidity

Roughly 1 in 5 babies in India are born with low birth weights. Even for babies who survive, low birth weight can cause serious short- and long-term health consequences, including underdeveloped lungs, stunted brain development, and an inability to feed properly. More than one-third of the world’s malnourished children live in India, where 35% of children are underweight and 38% of children are stunted.

Our goals

  • Reduce child morbidity and mortality
  • Improve birth weights
  • Ensure normal growth among children from birth to 3 years old (the window when 80% of brain development occurs)

Our actions

The Child Health Program delivers a range of services for children from birth to 3 years old.

  • Immunizations, which are widely considered the single most effective method to protect children’s health
  • Supplementary nutrition for children
  • Specialized care for severely malnourished children
  • Monthly growth monitoring
  • Personalized counseling to promote nutrition and growth
  • Diarrhea treatment and diarrhea prevention education
  • Medications to treat diseases and follow-up counseling
  • Vitamin A to prevent blindness and other serious illnesses
  • Deworming tablets to treat parasitic infections, which disproportionately affect children living in poverty

We provide these services through a combination of monthly home visits from our community health workers and clinic-based care delivered by our medical staff.