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Saving newborn lives with a cardboard box


It’s a safe bet.  Sending cardboard boxes to poor countries will be the next big global child health initiative.

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.

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.

Read the full story here.

The host of the Humanosphere community is Tom Paulson, who spent 22 years reporting on science and medicine at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Tom was one of the first daily news reporters to cover the topic of “global health” (a much-debated label which he discusses the merits of on the Humanosphere website).