Kharkiv national pedagogical university G. S. Skovorody
At the beginning of the ХХ сentury, one of the social problems of the Russian
Empire was the high child mortality rate. In order to prevent it, community activists
and doctors created the «Union to Combat Child Mortality», which opened
branches in all major cities of the country.
The purpose of this article is to study how this organization influenced the
emerging of the system of protection of motherhood and childhood in Ukraine.
The authors believe that overcoming child mortality in the 1920s is rooted in the
pre-revolutionary activities of doctors and organizations that supported of state
initiatives during the early years of the Soviet era.
The organization «The Drop of Milk», which opened in Kharkiv in 1906 thanks
to the work of doctors I.V. Troitsky and S. M. Jampolsky, aimed at distributing sterile milk and various mixtures for infants. Later, the organization began to
conduct regular inspections of infants, study the situation in the families, help
in the purchase of clothing, household items, etc. The organization campaigned
of raising public awareseness about breastfeeding as well as the sanitary and
hygiene requirements for infants. Building on the best practices of combating
infant mortality, the society focused on helping the most disadvantaged people
(mostly, women and children) of society, covering a wide range of social issues.
Thus, «The Drop of Milk» became a prototype of dairy kitchens, where the
food for babies was the subject to sanitary control. In addition, the organization’s
initiation of free pediatric patronage and consultations of doctors became
recognized by the world community due to the preventive measures to avoid
child mortality. These measures laid the foundations of comprehensive measures
regarding motherhood and childhood protection in Soviet times. The center
of such activity was the Kharkiv Institute for the Protection of Motherhood
and Infancy, headed by S.М.Yampolsky, a long-term and experienced leader of
“The Drop of Milk”.
The organization’s activities identified and named the high rates of child mortality
as a social problem. The issues of motherhood, responsibility for the life
and health of the child have come to be seen as a social function of a woman who
needs the help of the state and society.
Keywords: the history of the protection of motherhood and childhood, «Drop
of milk», Kharkiv, motherhood.