It’s a safe bet. Sending cardboard boxes to poor countries will be the next big global child health initiative.
The BBC reports today on the history and current use of boxes as newborn beds in Finland. The program started as a form of support for low-income families. In 1949 the government decided to offer mothers money or the box ‘o goods as long as they make a visit to a doctor or pre-natal clinic by the 4th month of pregnancy.
The use of cardboard boxes as child beds in Finland has persisted in popularity for nearly 75 years thanks to this government providing families with these boxed-up maternity packages. The parents are given the option to take 140 euros in cash or a box filled with baby needs. The package includes goodies such outdoor gear for the cold Finnish winters, bedding and diapers. 95% of families choose the box. Then they use it as a crib.
Yes, the cardboard device that brought endless entertainment to cats and imaginative children alike, is also a great bed. And experts claim it reduces infant mortality.
Families not only got stuff (or cash) for going to the doctor, but Finland established a highly successful program that improved maternal and child health.
It proved to be an important step in transforming a country that saw 65 out of every 1,000 children die in the 1930′s to 3 out of every 1,000 by 2011. One of the lowest rates in the world. Continue reading