Stored on her desktop computer, Dr. Anita Zaidi keeps the photo of a grandmother holding her baby grandson at a community clinic on the shores of the Arabian Sea in Pakistan. For Zaidi, the image has a sad, but deeply meaningful provenance. It was taken in 2002 at a clinic Zaidi started through a Save the Children’s program called “Saving Newborn Lives.” The baby was sick with sepsis but the woman had refused the offer of medical transport for the boy to a hospital in a nearby urban center. Twenty-four hours later, the baby would die at home. Zaidi can still recall the feelings of frustration and sadness that came over her from knowing the baby surely could've been saved if he had been taken to the hospital.
After nearly two decades of rising coverage, our progress on a critical piece in the fight against malnutrition is unravelling. Vitamin A distribution is now at a seven-year low. We know what we need to do to turn the tide—now is the time to do it.