Zinc & Health
Teck Resources Limited (Teck) and UNICEF Canada began a ten-year commitment in 2013 to improve access to zinc and oral rehydration salts as therapeutic treatments for children with diarrhea in India. Zinc deficiency is rare in North America, but it can be deadly in large populations with restricted access to nutrition and healthcare. India has the world’s largest number of deaths from diarrhea, over 100,000 per year, in children under the age of five.
Over the past eight years, Teck has donated $7 million to support children across Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, and Madhya Pradesh, three states with the highest burden of childhood diarrhea death in India. So far, the partnership has helped provide 520,000 zinc tablets to children under the age of five. The program also addresses sex disparities in healthcare, as the mortality rate of girls under the age of five from diarrhea is significantly higher than that of boys.
When COVID-19 overwhelmed healthcare infrastructure in high-income countries in early 2020, it was only a matter of time before the disease created major challenges across all nations. Right from the beginning of the pandemic, Teck saw the urgency and moved quickly to create a COVID-19 Response Fund to support communities locally and globally. A key pillar in this fund was the support of UNICEF’s international relief efforts.
Since then, and as the COVID-19 crisis has upended the lives of children and their families across the globe, Teck has continued its commitment to pandemic-related initiatives, donating a total of $2.5 million to UNICEF Canada in support of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, a global partnership dedicated to the equitable distribution of and access to vaccines, treatment and testing for COVID-19, as well as to the COVID-19 response in India.
Teck’s donation has helped ensure that over 350,000 healthcare workers in the most difficult to reach communities have received their COVID-19 vaccination. This contribution will also establish permanent healthcare infrastructure to serve women’s and children’s needs in the future.
Teck and UNICEF have a strong partnership that has improved the lives of thousands of children and families around the world, and I’m pleased that we’re able to continue to work together to improve global health outcomes for the most vulnerable.
Don Lindsay, President and CEO, Teck
UNICEF Canada thanks Teck Resources Limited for being at the forefront of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic from the beginning of this crisis. As the first Canadian company to step forward, Teck’s support has been an inspiration to Canadians and demonstrates the impact we collectively have to help the world.
David Morley, President and CEO, UNICEF Canada
History of Teck and UNICEF
Teck’s partnership with UNICEF Canada dates back to 2009. Teck has contributed to critical vitamin and micronutrient programs for children in Nepal and Peru, and the scaling up of the rural Health Extension Worker program in Namibia. In addition, Teck was a founding corporate partner of The 25th Team, a network of 60 Canadian women who mobilized $12 million to support scalable and innovative maternal, newborn and child health initiatives around the world.