I am so disheartened by the continual bashing UNICEF receives from some in the adoption community. It is unwarranted, illogical, and wrong on so many levels. UNICEF has been made the scape-goat for other entities atrocious lack of action in preventing and stopping the corruption in international adoption. Find the real culprit.
UNICEF started in 1946 by the UN to help the children in the European Countries. If your ancestors immigrated from Europe after WWII they could have been the ones helped, and without that help would you be alive today?
Back in 1946 the lingering effects of the destruction caused by World War II were still affecting millions of people in Europe. Many were without basic shelter, adequate clothing or food. Especially hard hit were children, fully half of whom were dying before their first birthday in some affected areas. Existing relief mechanisms were being phased out.
In response to many voices of concern, on 11 December 1946 the UN General Assembly unanimously established the UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to mount urgent relief programmes for children. UNICEF was directed to provide its aid ‘without discrimination because of race, creed, nationality, status or political belief’. In this way, principles grounded in rights and equity helped guide UNICEF’s work from the very beginning.
Once that crisis was over they continued on. Following are just a few facts taken from this page. This question is for adoptive parents to consider - if not for UNICEF would your child be born, or would their parents, or grandparents, have died before their 5th birthday?
1947 – A supplementary feeding programme for children, nursing and pregnant mothers in 13 European Countries.
1948 – Aid to mothers and children in Asia and Palestine.
In addition they started vaccinations against TB that by 1955 had protected 60 million children from this deadly disease.
1951 - Helping save children from TB, Malaria, Trachoma, and YAWS as well as emergency relief for children from Natural Disasters.
1953 - Working on environmental sanitation projects to save children’s lives. Leprosy control measures implemented. YAWS can be cured by 1 shot of Penicillin and identified 10 million cases in Indonesia, Thailand, Haiti, Philippines and other countries.
1956-1959 – Created nutrition programmes around the world.
1960 – 56 Million children, nursing and pregnant mothers are being benefitted by UNICEF.
1966 – Now aiding 120 countries and territories including Africa, the Americas, Asia, Eastern Mediterranean, and Europe.
1973 - 70 countries are being benefitted with village water supplies to reduce child illness and death. They are also combatting blindness cause by lack of Vitamin A.
1977 – Expanded immunization programmes should be a main priority with sufficient vaccines, drugs and other supplies.
1983 – Now able to respond to the literacy issue to help child survival and quality of life with a better future.
1984 - African drought and famine – 65 million packets of oral dehydration salts and helps countries produce the salts locally. Salts that are needed to treat diarrhoeal dehydration in the children that leads to death.
1985 - Did three-day of mass immunizations of children under 5, in El Salvador during their civil war. They then used the same approach in Lebanon 1987; Sudan 1989; Iraq 1991 and more frequently since then. They also saved an estimated half million children with the oral rehydration therapy.
1986 - 500 Million vaccinations given. Approximately 487 Million children under the age of 5 benefitted from oral rehydration therapy. One and a half million children are saved this year alone. By now 93 countries have benefitted from water supply and sanitation programs – benefitting some 18.7 million persons.
1987 – Estimated two million child deaths were averted this year.
1988 - by the end of this year – 68 percent of the children in developing world had been immunized with 3 doses of DPT (diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus) and the polio vaccine. Oral rehydration has saved about 3 quarters of a million children this year.
1989 – “159 UN Member States adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The CRC sets minimum standards of protection for children everywhere against exploitation, abuse and neglect.”
1993 - Since the end of WWII – life expectancy has increased in the developing world by about a third. Infant and child deaths have been halved. Children going to school rose from 50% to 75%. Rural families with safe drinking water rose from 10% to almost 60%. In just 12 years childs deaths from measles and neonatal tetanus have been cut by at least half.
1995 – Oral rehydration therapy started in 1980 saves about 1.5 million children this year.
This is merely a glimpse of what UNICEF had accomplished by 1995. How many lives were saved by from the efforts of UNICEF? How many millions upon millions women and children were helped with nutrition, vaccinations, drugs, schooling, that allowed them to live, or live a better life than they had. How many were helped in the horrific natural disasters that happened in the developing countries in that time period alone. Remember the above is just a snippet of what they have done and are still continuing to do around the world today – saving lives – making lives better – restoring hope and wellness to the mind, body and spirit.
And what about those diseases they vaccinated all those hundreds of millions of children for, the drugs used to treat diseases, the rehydration salts…
Polio – the vaccination my dad said was the greatest invention that happened during his medical career. A disease almost eradicated from this world, but must be eradicated completely, before vaccinations can stop being given.
You can read about Polio, Diphtheria, Whooping Cough, and Tetanus here. And remember the above are just snippets of what they have done in the way of saving children’s lives through their vaccination, nutrition, and sanitation programmes as well as focusing on maternal health and literacy. They save and continue to save millions of lives. The generational impact alone is multi-reaching and I again ask the question of adoptive parents – would your child’s parents or grandparents have lived past the age of 5? Would your child even been born?
And exactly what are those strange diseases noted above such as YAWS? You can read the Fact Sheet on YAWS here from WHO. Trachoma? Causes blindness and a lot of pain – you can read it here. Diarrhoeal dehydration – read about it here.
In conclusion, I needed to expand on my coment left on Malinda’s post because I am so tired of the bashing by some in the adoption community. UNICEF can’t save or fix everything but they work really hard every day. I just wish people could look at the global impact of all the good UNICEF has done, and is doing today as you are reading this, and look for the real culprits who failed in protecting children in developing countries. Take your personal story out of your mind, and look at the entire picture. BTW: I will not tolerate comments like Malinda does and is doing right now on her post. I don’t need it.