with sons and mothers, we watch the evening news
in the glow of our screens, we read poetry
we cry over tsunami victims
we anguish over iraq, kashmir, palestine.
something is missing
something that is not news
something happening to someone,
it's so near, it's not news,
it's so everyday, it's not news.
even as you read this
even as PR agencies flood our senses
with polio vaccines
and the multinationals kill each year
with drug IPR
what is not news
is how thousands of our babies
die, their mewling stilled
by sheer poverty.
not one month old they die
they need vaccination
love, breastfeeding, oil massage...
the cost -
fifty rupees per person
no one reads it -
can't sell papers.
in this one nation
a million lives
extinguished each year.
thirty thousand a day
two babies each minute
somewhere near you
while you read this,
sixteen glazed-over eyes
are looking at you.
A large fraction of babies - about 4.3% for India, die
within the first month of life. The numbers are half
of this in Indonesia or China, and one-tenth in the
The March 3 issue of the medical journal
Lancet says that a majority of these deaths can be
avoided by simple measures such as vaccination for
mothers, prompt and exclusive breastfeeding, clean
delivery, etc., the total cost of which is under $1 for
every person on earth. In other words, we merely have
to care about it.