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2007.11.09

* UNICEF: Madagascar mother and child
* 24 Oct 2006


This week, Madagascar hosted two international UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors, supporting life-saving interventions for Malagasy mothers and children.


Yvonne Chaka Chaka, the South African singer, came to draw awareness to the problem of Malaria in Madagascar, promoting the use of (insecticide treated) mosquito nets in the fight to eliminate the disease.


9 out of 10 Malagasy people live in Malaria-endemic zones, and it kills more children under five years old than any other disease – more than 17,000 Malagasy people die from malaria every year.


Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to contract Malaria, and when they do become infected, their babies are often still born, or with a very low birth weight, making their chances of survival much lower.


Despite this, only a third of children under five, and even fewer expectant mothers, sleep under a mosquito net.


UNICEF is working to change this, distributing mosquito nets to every pregnant woman and child under 5.


SOUNDBITE (English) Yvonne Chaka Chaka, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador : Well, it’s so good to know that this campaign we’re going to distribute 1.3 million nets, and I just hope that people will use them appropriately, and they must use the nets because it’s to save their lives.
The focus of the visit of Goodwill Ambassador Laeticia Hallyday, wife of French rock star Johnny Hallyday, was also related to the health and survival of Malagasy children, but this time focusing on tetanus elimination.
Madagascar is one of only five east and southern African countries where Tetanus hasn’t yet been eliminated. Immunity can be provided through a series of vaccinations.


UNICEF is working to ensure that all babies and women aged between 15 and 49 years old are vaccinated and therefore protected.


SOUNDBITE (French) Laeticia Hallyday: “Wherever you are in the world, vaccinating your child today will save his life.”


Both Goodwill Ambassador visits took place during a ‘Mother and Child Health Week’, where health workers and volunteers aim to reach the most marginalized Malagasy women and children.


Twice a year, these weeks are conducted to reach out to people who don’t receive routine health services. Mobile health workers walk up to 20 km a day to reach the most rural settlements, and other mothers and children are encouraged to come to the health centres for the first time, to receive a package of interventions, including vaccinations against tetanus and Measles, Vitamin A supplements, de-worming tablets, and mosquito nets.


SOUNDBITE (French) Laeticia Hallyday: “It

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