Stunting is what happens to a child’s brain and body when they don’t get the right kind of food or nutrients in the 1,000 days before their second birthday, including their mother’s pregnancy.
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Learn more here: http://www.unicef.org/nutrition
CAN YOU SEE ME?
Eveny* (age 17) was raped one Sunday afternoon by the son of her church’s pastor; he then threatened to kill her if she told anyone. Frightened, Eveny remained silent. But neighbours soon alerted her parents, who accompanied Eveny to the police to report the incident. She is now receiving counselling and other support from a local shelter, although its distance from her home makes frequent attendance difficult.
Eveny lives in Guatemala.
* Name changed
© UNICEF/Susan Markisz
To see more: http://www.unicef.org/photography
TUMBLR SPECIAL SERIES: Stories from UNICEF staff members serving in some of the most challenging environments in the world
Let’s unite our efforts for our children, especially the most vulnerable ones
By Carmen Garrigos - Polio Chief - Kabul, Afghanistan
My name is Carmen Garrigos and I was born in Spain. I have always dreamt of helping children, especially the most vulnerable, overlooked and forgotten ones who lost their smiles because of challenges that life has thrown at them, or those children who live in adverse conditions and in surroundings which are full of sorrow and difficulty. Over the years I have been very lucky because I have had the opportunity to be part of teams of humanitarian workers that worked hard to bring basic services and love to the children and women of Somalia, Southern Senegal and Southern Sudan.
Many times the risk of delivering services in such conflict-affected countries, in which colleagues have either lost their lives or limbs, is high. But that doesn’t deter us from our aim which has always been the safety, wellness and protection of the children and women we serve. Whatever the hurdles, I have always tried to ensure that services and supplies reach those in need at the right time. It is not only my job to serve the needy and poor; it is my duty as a human being to support those who are less privileged than me.
As I write this note, I fondly remember the faces, smiles and courage of women, women’s groups, and mothers in many parts of the world that played and continue to play such a crucial role in reducing the suffering of children. I think about them with great admiration and respect.
In Afghanistan, I am proud to serve with a team of passionate professionals who work day and night to achieve our goal – eradicating Polio from Afghanistan and from the world. Every time I sit in a hall near my office where photos of those who lost their lives while working for children of this country are placed, I am overwhelmed. I look at them and in my thoughts tell them that we are here to take ahead and fulfill their dream of a world that is rid of this deadly disease which paralyses our children or can even kill them. I am sure their dream will come true very soon.
While we work very hard with our partners, including the government and civil society, I feel that the biggest contributors to bringing about change in this country are women. Their work needs to be acknowledged as they have paid a high price in trying to ensure that their children get the crucial two drops of polio vaccine. It is not easy being a woman in these parts and especially if you are determined against all odds to ensure that your child remains healthy. I admire these women who have the courage to stand up against social and cultural pressures and make sure their children are protected against deadly diseases.
Finally I am very happy to be working in Afghanistan where, with a great team, we are confident that we can win the war against polio as well as many other diseases.
Let’s unite our efforts for our children, especially the most vulnerable ones.
Photo caption: Carmen Garrigos visits a polio vaccination outreach center in Afghanistan and helps deliver the polio vaccine popularly known as the “two drops of life”.
Photo credit: © UNICEF/Aziz Froutan
Tiny hopes for Syria amid the violence
By Alma Hassoun
DAMASCUS, 20 May 2013 – Five-day old Yaman took a long stretch inside an incubator at a charity hospital in Damascus, while his mother and sister were admiring him happily through the glass door of the unit.
Yaman has in many ways become one of Syria’s smallest hopes amid vicious fighting that has damaged hospitals and taken thousands of lives. His mother remained nearby, ready to breastfeed her youngest child to ensure the best nutritional start to life.
Next to him was a tiny girl sleeping quietly. Both babies are expected to be fine, but were placed delicately in an incubator because of a small infection for Yaman and a respiratory problem for the girl.
But until last month, there were only four incubators in the hospital — far short of what was needed.
UNICEF has been providing NGOs throughout the country with incubators that can help save the lives of many infants like Yaman, with three machines for this hospital in Damascus, another two in Aleppo and one in Homs. A remaining 44, out of 50 purchased, will be distributed to private and public hospitals throughout Syria.
“The incubators came just on time,” said Dr. Wisam Baraki, a neonatology specialist.
Before that, infants were sometimes placed on beds and oxygen was administered manually by parents because incubators were not available, a doctor explained.
“The incubator is life-saving medical equipment for babies born with difficulties especially in breathing,” said Dr. Iman Bahnasi, UNICEF health specialist. “It is crucial especially at this time as there is a shortage in incubators resulting from damaging and looting many hospitals.”
The protracted violence has continued to devastate health facilities in Syria. Out of 88 public hospitals, less than half are fully functioning, with some 27 destroyed and 21 only partially working. In addition, 10 per cent of the health centres in Syria are damaged according to the World Health Organization in December 2012.
UNICEF and partners are providing humanitarian assistance throughout the country including medical support for children and families. This year alone, 50 UNICEF supported mobile medical teams in 12 governorates and a fixed centre in Damascus, have reached over 60,700 children with medical check-ups.
Photo credit: © UNICEF/Syria-2013/Alma Hassoun
PHOTO OF THE WEEK: 20 May 2013
Recovery efforts continue one month after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Sichuan Province of china on 20 April 2013. The disaster killed 196 people and injured more than 12,000 while dismantling homes and major infrastructure.
Pictured: A displaced woman and her daughter seek temporary shelter in Boaxing County. Home to 60,000 people, the county suffered damage to over 60 per cent of its buildings.
To see more: www.unicef.org/photography
DAMASCUS/AMMAN/GENEVA, 17 May 2013 – Despite heavy fighting, UNICEF and partners have provided life-saving supplies over the last week to some of the hardest to reach areas in Syria, including Aleppo and Al Houla, as well as children and women who fled recent violence in Al Bayda and Baniyas.