A recent Associated Press story shows how UNICEF harms the interests of third world children by using the media to mislead the world. UNICEF, a United Nations organisation (originally called United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) exaggerates the effect on the health of third world children of its activities. UNICEF’s efforts are effectively insignificant compared to the effect of continuing economic growth in the developing world. Economic growth delivers dramatic health effects. It brings cleaner water and improved nutrition which are long proven to be the key factors in improving child health and preventing deaths from infectious disease.
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UNICEF airbrushes out the effect of economic growth. UNICEF thus seeks to gain the credit: “the global number of under-five deaths has fallen from around 12 million in 1990 to an estimated 6.9 million in 2011.”: Child deaths fell below 7 million in 2011 – Associated Press September 13, 2012.
The interests of third world children are inevitably harmed. Avoidable child deaths will occur. Scarce resources will be and are diverted from the most effective measures as a result of such overt direct manipulation and misleading of the world’s media, politicians and public.
Citing Bangladesh as an example of when “a country’s location and economic status need not be a barrier to reducing child deaths” UNICEF fails to mention that the economy of Bangladesh has grown 5-6% per annum since 1996: Bangladesh Economy Overview The World Fact Book CIA. UNICEF fails to make clear that in Bangladesh “…. the economy accelerated from 1990, driven by a remarkable turnaround …“ Economic growth in Bangladesh: experience and policy priorities.
UNICEF fails to give credit to Bangladesh for using its economic success to deliver clean water to its citizens: The path through the fields– “Bangladesh … has been surprisingly good at improving the lives of its poor” The Economist, Nov 3rd 2012.
UNICEF instead claims vaccines and technology can change things when their effect is marginal in comparison to economic development. UNICEF claims [emphasis added]:
…. youngsters from disadvantaged and marginalized families in poor and fragile nations are the most likely to die before their fifth birthday, but their lives can be saved with vaccines, adequate nutrition and basic medical and maternal care.
The world has the technology and know-how to do so” … “that there is “unfinished business” ….. “That’s why we have this global movement …. to end child deaths. This decline shows we can make this happen.“
The following superb BBC FOUR broadcast by Professor Hans Rosling shows how health improved in step with wealth over the last 200 years“200 countries over 200 years using 120,000 numbers – in just four minutes“:
The main advances in combating disease over 200 years have been better food and clean drinking water. Improved sanitation, less overcrowded and better living conditions also contribute. This is also borne out in published peer-reviewed research:
- “The questionable contribution of medical measures to the decline of mortality in the United States in the twentieth century“. McKinlay JB, McKinlay SM, Milbank Mem Fund Q Health Soc. 1977 Summer; 55(3): 405-28.
- “Symposium: Accomplishments in Child Nutrition during the 20th Century. Infant Mortality in the 20th Century, Dramatic but Uneven Progress” Myron E. Wegman School of Public Health, University of Michigan: J. Nutr. 131: 401S–408S, 2001.
This can also be seen from the graphs here: Vaccines Did Not Save Us – 2 Centuries of Official Statistics
UNICEF is an agency of a political organisation, the United Nations, which is dominated by developed nations. And it has for decades been harming the interests of third world children by buying cheap and known-to-be dangerous vaccines like Urabe strain MMR as well as mercury-laced vaccines like DTP and giving them to third world children.
In addition, third-world children still die from infectious diseases despite vaccines. It is a scandal of the 21st Century that organisations like UNICEF do nothing to develop effective treatments for basic childhood diseases. With such treatments, we could save up to 7 million needless deaths annually. UNICEF is doing nothing to ensure such treatments are developed.
The AP story was based on a UNICEF report. No doubt UNICEF’s Director and other senior staff will use reports like that to continue to seek a substantial annual budget and issue more similar reports in future to justify their existence and annual salaries.
What can also be said is that media reports and news releases emanating from UNICEF are not to be trusted.