I remember when my daughter was ill a little while back. She had a high fever and looked so small and vulnerable. My heart was heavy as I tried to comfort her and make sure she made a speedy and full recovery. Luckily, she did. But as I learned on my recent trip to Cote d'Ivoire with Save the Children, not every child in the world has the same luxury.
I travelled six hours from the capital of Abijdan to visit various remote villages where I met some incredible people. I spoke to midwives, health workers, mothers and fathers, and I heard their harrowing stories. In Blaisekro, a village that is being provided maternal and child health care programmes supported by Save the Children, I met Solange, a mother who devastatingly lost her five month old baby to diarrhoea three weeks before I arrived in the country. It was shocking to see and hear about the suffering that mothers and children experience in Cote d'Ivoire and I find it appalling that children are still dying from diarrhoea in 2015. I can't help but think how outrageously unfair this world can be.
The last mother I met was Patricia. Despite two of her babies tragically dying because she couldn't afford healthcare, I was amazed by her positive spirit. She told me that she is proud to be a mother and wants to work in order to provide everything she can for her surviving three year old and 17 month old children. It was so humbling to hear her story and I was reminded of every mother's strength.
A mother's love for her children is immeasurable. Her instinct is to protect her children, to nurture them, to teach them and watch them grow. This maternal drive does not know geographical or economic boundaries, and it is something I saw in every mother I spoke to on my trip.
It is shameful that around the world children are dying from preventable and treatable illnesses. 17,000 children die every day before their fifth birthday. They're dying because there's no doctor or nurse, no medicine and no clinic when they're ill, or because their mothers give birth to them alone. Fortunately we have the chance to change this tragic reality.
Save the Children has made great progress in the most vulnerable urban and rural areas of Cote D'Ivoire providing free vaccinations, free pre (and post) natal consultations for mothers and free health equipment which seem to be having a profound effect on the hopefulness I have seen in the country, but there is definitely still a long way to go.
When world leaders meet this September to agree a new set of global goals we can make sure they commit to ending preventable child deaths once and for all. We need to take a stand and ensure every child has access to life-saving healthcare, wherever they are.