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587 out of every 1000 babies in Swaziland die

This isn’t a blog so much as it is me registering shock. As humans, we must sit up and take notice when large numbers of other human beings are dying. We did it with Cambodia, Rwanda, and Sudan. Now it’s Swaziland’s turn. 58.7% of babies in Swaziland are dying.   According to yesterday’…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
This isn’t a blog so much as it is me registering shock. As humans, we must sit up and take notice when large numbers of other human beings are dying. We did it with Cambodia, Rwanda, and Sudan. Now it’s Swaziland’s turn. 58.7% of babies in Swaziland are dying.
According to yesterday’s Swazi Observer: “Out of every 1,000 children born at the country’s hospitals, 587 of them
die. Chief Nursing Officer, Thembisile Khumalo disclosed the figures
yesterday, noting that the number of babies dying at birth was
Worrying? What kind of absurd understatement is that? Over half the nation’s babies are dying and you’re worried? How about outraged, or livid, or inconsolable?! Many of us are incredulous – the number must be wrong. The CIA factbook says that just two years ago the infant mortality rate was just 7%, still a shocking number, but nowhere near 58.7%.
What do we as human beings do when we hear news of such tragedy? In 1980 when I heard about what Pol Pot was doing to his country, I dropped everything, got on a plane to Thailand, and began helping the more than a million refugees on its border. I didn’t feel noble, I just felt impelled to do something.
Here’s how the government of Swaziland responded to the shocking news in the press:  “We do hope that with the introduction of the health
awards, health facilities in the country will fight to improve the
That’s a government. That’s how institutions respond to holocausts, with numb banalities. What makes us different as sentient human beings is that we can do something. As Willie Loman’s wife said when he died, “Attention must be paid!
If you’ll get in touch with me, I’ll give you some options. Switching the channel is not one of them. We can begin by verifying and reporting the reality through our own independent research for starters. And after that, some of us need may need to get on airplanes.

Comments (11)

  • This is so very tragic and heartbreaking. If there are 587 babies dying out of 1000 that is just hard to comprehend. How could the infant mortality rate go from 7% to such a higher rate in just two years? When we looked at the stats tonight they said 58.7 out of 1000 births not 587 out of 1000 births. What is going on that it has increased so much in the last two years and why is it not listed accurately when you look up the stats. I can’t help but wonder if the Swazi Observer is incorrect with their numbers, but if it is accurate, we should all be getting on a plane to Swaziland.

  • Thanks Seth for the poignant reminder of this horrific reality. And Tom I’d still love to connect as I’ve often said. I am close to you in the mountains of Colorado and writing. Just a word of encouragement from the standpoint of someone looking at the reality of this situation and perhaps reflecting an average person poised to make an investment to address the pandemic. Thoughtful donors will ask “With the various NGO’s working there in recent years why is the reality worse and where is the best place to address the seminal causes?” There was a USAID briefing on this recently. Shalom…

  • Yoh (that’s southern African for >WOW…Hectic<

    I feel like a traitor for not having done anyhting about the situation in my country. I’m bordering on 21 years of age and I still havent done anything, let alone come up with something i could call concrete, to help my country.

    Cry My Beloved Country ….. thtas where i am at. But God has been equipping me for things such as these and soon…. a fire will ignite.

    Thanks for the wake up call Seth….


  • Horrific. While I can’t get on an airplane at the moment (heck, I couldn’t even make it to GA, how on earth will I get to Africa?!?!?) I am in. And making good right now on my commitment to help in Haiti.

  • Willing to be used by God. There are no mission organisations in australia that go to swaziland – please let me know how I can get involved.

  • It’s stories like this that God has used to break my heart for Swaziland . . . I’m headed there in just a few weeks and praying for God to show me how He would have me be His hands and feet to the beautiful people of Swaziland.

  • It is so sad. I hope when I go I could make some kind of difference, in the number of babies dying. I want to become a NICU RN, that deals with the tiny little babies that are too early or are sick when they are born. In the US, the NICU gives babies a chance. In places like Swaziland they don’t have that tecnology, and it’s really sad.

  • Like Wendy, I think this is a case of bad reporting as most of the 2010 reports I see put it at 69.7 per 1000, effectively 7% still.(One or two put it at 85 or 151) Nonetheless, 7% of your children dying is still worth getting on a plane to do something about… I’ll start with getting on the plane and going to CO next week.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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