Lisa Sharon Harper on Dear Santa…

Dear Santa,

My mom is about to give birth. I’m going to have a new baby sister. Which is all very exciting but it’s also a little scary. The trouble is, where we live, our nearest health clinic does not have clean water and often there’s no soap. The toilets are outside and they’re terrible.

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You’ve traveled all around the world so you must know this problem is really common all across the developing world. That is where I was born and live, and that is where my little sister is about to be born, too. When my mom goes into labor, I know it’s going to hurt and I am going to do my best to help her carry the water she’ll need to the health clinic; but it’s really heavy and I’m little and can only carry so much.

So, what I wish for my mom, and my new baby sister this Christmas, is to be born in a place that has clean water and is safe. I want my mom to be able to prevent disease by bathing before feeding my sister. I want the midwife who will help my mom through it all to be able to wash her hands, and I want to be able to wash my hands, too, before holding my new sister for the first time. I’m scared that she might get sick like my little cousin. She was a newborn baby when she got sick. She went to heaven even before she was named.

Imagine if this was the letter your child had to write to Santa this season.

Yes, my Dear Santa letter may be imaginary, but the conditions described are not. Day One is when more than 40% of maternal and newborn deaths occur in large part because hospitals and health clinics lack the foundation for safe delivery: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, known as WASH. Every year, 17 million women in developing countries give birth in a facility without WASH, so infections are easily transmitted by unwashed hands, contaminated beds, unsafe water and umbilical cords cut by unsanitary instruments. More than one million deaths every year are associated with unclean births due to these conditions. This should not be.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Lisa Sharon Harper

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