#hiddencrisis: Biggest ever charity tweet chat

Tomorrow, Wednesday 15th February, Save the Children will host the biggest ever charity Twitter Chat on the #hiddencrisis .

I will be hosting the first hour of the tweetchat with @Nicole_Cardinal via @savechildrenaus account where we will be chatting to @MarionsKitchen from 4.30pm. Exciting. We will be talking about the importance of nutrition.

As food prices continue to rise mothers in many countries around the world are being forced to cut down the quality of food they feed their children; tomorrow ministers, academics, inventors, TV chefs, campaigners and mums will discuss malnutrition, the #hiddencrisis that is killing 300 children every hour, every day.

Hosted by Save the Children in collaboration with the United Nations Foundation, World Health Organisation  and The Million Moms Challenge, the Twitter Chat marks the global launch of their new flagship nutrition report, A Life Without Hunger: Tackling Child Malnutrition.

The Twitter chat, biggest ever attempted by a charity, will last 12 hours, spanning 3 continents and 12 different time zones starting at 4.30pm EST.

Other participants on the tweet chat will include:

  • Agnes Binagwaho, Rwandan Minister of Health: @agnesbinagwaho
  • Dr Stanley Zlotkin, inventor of sprinkles micronutrient powder: @Stantheironman
  • Jeffery Sachs, Economist, Professor, Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General. Author of The Price of Civilization: @jeffdsachs
  • Sara Ziff, New yorker, model, filmmaker, community organizer: @saraziff
  • Kunal Kapoor, Bollywood star: @kapoorkkunal

Use the #hiddencrisis hashtag to participate and join the conversation.

To make it easier to keep track of the conversation and the schedule for each session, pop over to the tweetchat chatroom


24,000 mothers will lose a child today.

We take access to quality health care for granted. Even if you refuse to pay for private health cover, and complain about the waiting times in the public system, you still have medicare and a qualified doctor is never too far away.  You can also pick up the phone and chat to a qualified nurse about a weird stomach cramp at any hour free of charge or do self-diagnosis via google. Accessible medical assistance does save lives, and not everyone is privy to such a service.

Every year 50 million woman in the developing world give birth with no professional help and 8.8 million children and newborns die from easily preventable or treatable causes. 24,000 mothers mourn the loss of a child each and every day.

If these woman and children had access to health professionals millions of lives would be saved. And then if these trained health professionals had access to technology… well the ripple effects would be remarkable. As discussed in the PSFK Future of Health Report, recent advances in technology could dramatically decrease the barriers to medical advice in less developed markets.

The State of the World’s Mothers Report 2010, ranked 160 countries based on mothers’ and children’s health, educational and economic status. Norway ranked number 1, Australia 2, the U.S. 28 and Afghanistan last.  The differences between Australia and Afghanistan are so severe, they are not even comparable – check out the table below.

Australia Afghanistan
Average years of formal education a woman receives 21 4
Number of children that die before the age of 5 1 in 166 More than 1 in 4
Risk of maternal death 1 in 13,300 1 in 8
Average female life span 84 44

The varying level of access to qualified health professionals corresponds directly to the level of health of woman and children in particular.

Trained health workers are present at pretty much every birth in Australia, in comparison to only 14% of births being attended to in Afghanistan.

Over the last 20 years certain developing countries have shown that through investing in training of female health workers lives are saved. Bangladesh has reduced its under-5 mortality rate by 64% due to tens of thousands of female health workers who have promoted family planning, safe motherhood and essential care for newborns. Nepal has achieved similar reductions in maternal and child mortality as a result of training 50,000 female community health volunteers in rural areas.

The role that technology could play in expanding the network of health workers in developing countries, and strengthening their skills and impact is enormous.  Through ideas such as HealthPal, employing a universal health language and making live videos of health workers– all proposed in response to the PSFK Future of Health Report – the gaping health disparity between countries such as Australia and Afghanistan could begin to be diminished.

Check out the short flick below from Save the Children UK about their campaign to make Africa fit for mothers and children.