Thursday, November 20, 2008

2008 Universal Children's Day

When we think of the sad situation of having a child die, we usually imagine a fatal disease or horrible accident. Sadly though, millions of children die every year from preventable illnesses, sometimes as simple as diarrhea. Other illnesses, like malaria and pneumonia are usually quite easy to treat and very inexpensively. Yet, the children are still dying.

The United Nations General Assembly established Universal Children's Day in 1954 in order to promote the welfare of children all over the world.

According to a press release issued by US Fund for UNICEF:

"These children are not dying from incurable diseases or causes. These children are dying from diarrhea, pneumonia, measles and malaria---things that cost pennies to treat or prevent," said Caryl Stern, President and C.E.O., U.S. Fund for UNICEF. "It is unacceptable and inexcusable that defenseless children continue to die when the technology, expertise and solutions to save them exist right now."

In 1980, the annual rate of under-five child deaths hovered at 14.6 million, which totaled 40,000 children a day. By 1990 that number was reduced to 12.7 million children annually. Last year annual child deaths declined to about 9.2 million, in spite of rapid population growth, many prolonged civil conflicts and the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

There are ways that we can help. My 17-year-old has been involved in raising money for mosquito nets. He plays in a floor hockey league - actually, this year he's an assistant coach. Every year his program exchanges small gifts but last Christmas, it was decided that instead of exchanging 10.00 gifts, they would donate the money for mosquito nets. I don't remember how many they bought, but it was a good number.

Back in June, there was an article in the New York Times about mosquito nets: A $10 Mosquito Net Is Making Charity Cool.

Let's remember and see if we can help those children - and those parents who are losing their children - in whatever small way we can.


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Anonymous said...

sit and work and eat and sleep and offer your prayers