CIDA's child survival challenge; The Canadian Red Cross has given us a plan to end child deaths, says law professor AMIR ATTARAN. Why isn't the Harper government coughing up the cash?
Last week in Sierra Leone, a campaign designed by the Canadian Red Cross and largely financed by the Canadian International Development Agency gave malaria bednets, measles vaccines, vitamins and deworming medicines to more than 800,000 young children nationwide - all at once, and all for free. One could say these children are extraordinarily lucky, for Sierra Leone is the world\'s poorest country and the kind of place where, if just one out of four children died, it would be called an improvement.
I went to Sierra Leone to watch the national campaign. What I saw was solemn, touching and utterly historical. Masterful logistics brought refrigerated vaccines from India and thousands of bales of malaria bednets from Vietnam into the roadless villages of Sierra Leone's interior. At more than 2,000 posts across the country, parents lined up for as long as six hours in searing sunlight to lead their children past the tables where workers from the Sierra Leone Red Cross and Ministry of Health distributed malaria bednets, pills and injections to peals of syringe-induced bawling. If the Sierra Leoneans schemed or jostled like the North Americans lining up for a Sony PlayStation 3, it was subtle.
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CIDA's child survival challenge, By Amir Attaran, The Globe and Mail, November 28, 2006; Page A26