UNICEF fights baby killers

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(Photo credits: UNICEF)

Six ‘baby killers’ procure a daily slaughter of children. These are the six diseases – measles, polio, tetanus, whooping cough, diphtheria and tuberculosis – which,along with poverty and hunger  hold the daily record of 19,000 young victims in the spam of five years. These are diseases and conditions that may be prevented and avoided.

For this purpose, UNICEF started in 2011 the “Believe in Zero” campaign’ against child mortality, which in this period focused on malnutrition.

Methods to prevent these deaths are trivial, insecticide-treated nets against malaria, Zinc supplements, vaccines against tuberculosis, tetanus, and measles, assistance at delivery and neonatal care, availability of drinking water, breastfeeding during the first 6 months, the administration of vitamin A, and “malnutrition 0″ would make a great difference. Malnutrition ZERO, part of the UNICEF campaign consists of 3 bracelets of three different colors that indicate the severeness of the child’s condition.  In cases of severe malnutrition, the UNICEF administers to children some Plumpynut, a product that is consumed without being easily dissolved in water (which is often polluted), and that looks like a stick of butter (92 grams contain 500 calories). Generally , after 1 month of this treatment, the child begins to regain weight and recover.

The campaign ‘Believe in zero’ has the aim to pursue these strategies of intervention and with this UNICEF calls for support to implement them.

The Millennium Development Goals set as a goal that of reducing in child mortality by two-thirds by 2015. Much progress has been made – noted UNICEF – but no amount of money” and ‘acceptable in terms of infant deaths”: in the last 50 years, infant mortality has been significantly reduced: in1960 20 million children between the ages of 0 and 5 years old died, in 1990 it was more than 12 million, and in 2011 the figure has dropped to 6.9 million.

It has to be said that over the last 50 years infant mortality has decreased significantly but, as stated in the ad of the campaign BELIEVE IN ZERO, “no number is acceptable in terms of infant deaths.” 19,000 children die every day: “we want the number to go down to zero”.

Erika Sciarra.

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