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Lenny Kravitz teams up with UNICEF to end preventable child deaths

2013-05-06

NEW YORK, 6 May 2013 - Lenny Kravitz—GRAMMY award-winning singer-songwriter, record producer and actor—is urging people to join UNICEF to bring about an end to preventable child deaths. As many as 1.5 million children die every year from vaccine-preventable diseases. 

“It’s every parent’s worst nightmare – an extremely ill child,” said Kravitz.  “UNICEF’s goal is to make sure that 100 per cent of children are immunized against preventable diseases. Failing to reach every last child is unacceptable, especially when the cost of a vaccine is so little.”

Kravitz took time from recording his new album to film Public Service Announcements (PSAs) around the importance of reaching every child with life-saving immunizations. It comes nearly one year after he lent his support to UNICEF’s efforts to save and improve the lives of millions of children by providing them with access to clean water and adequate sanitation. In addition to the PSAs, Kravitz will use his social media platforms to share UNICEF’s call for 100 per cent immunization.

Despite immunization remaining one of the most successful and cost-effective public health interventions—a lifesaving immunization against measles costs less than one dollar— nearly 20 per cent of the world’s children are still not immunized.

Children in remote areas and in impoverished communities are more likely to not be immunized against killer diseases. This effectively leaves these children unprotected against disability and death. Often times, immunization is a gateway to a healthier life for children of poor and isolated communities. Mass immunization campaigns allow for poor and isolated communities to receive other vital health services like insecticide-treated bed nets and nutritional supplements.

“As the largest procurer of vaccines, UNICEF helps immunize more than one third of the world’s children,” said Jos Vandelaer, Chief of Immunization for UNICEF. “UNICEF is well positioned to deliver vaccinations to every last child which is very important if we are ever to reach a day where 100 per cent of children are fully immunized.”

Vaccines are responsible for eradicating smallpox and for preventing an estimated two to three million deaths each year from diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough measles and polio. Fifty years ago, this disease was once one of the most feared diseases in the world. Anyone not immunized against the disease can contract polio, but children under five years of age are especially vulnerable. Timely immunization with today’s safe and effective oral vaccines is the most effective way to prevent infection. As a result, polio is now endemic in only three countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.

Lenny Kravitz for UNICEF

© Mathieu Bitton

Download the full size image here.

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About UNICEF

UNICEF has saved more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries – more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.