By KATE MOORE, UNICEF Australia
Every shopping mall across Australia is counting down the days until Christmas and reminding us of the items on all our Christmas to-do lists. Wished-for gifts have been circled or clipped from the plethora of Christmas catalogues choking our letterboxes and younger members of the family have spent hours deliberating over letters to Santa.
But while we muse over gift guides and plan this year’ gift-giving let’s take stock of the things no child will want this Christmas, but that thousands will get.
An empty table
Growing up, my children’s worst nightmare at Christmas was that someone would break into our house and steal the gifts under the tree. Now they’re all older, it’s that their favourite Christmas lunch staple of fresh summer fruits, cold meats, homemade shortbread, trifle, pavlova and all the trimmings won’t be present on our table.
For families the world over, even our relatively simple fare is a cornucopia well out of their reach. Of the 6.6 million children, globally, who died before reaching the age of five last year, more than half died of undernutrition – the term used to describe the wider physical impact on children who have an inadequate diet, and includes stunting, wasting, depressed immune systems.
What you can give: Double your gift-giving impact this year and for every purchase of micronutrients, UNICEF’s charity partner MMG will deliver a second serving.
The irritating sting of a mosquito bite
It’s summer and though I haven’t yet had to resort to mossie coils and station a can of Aeroguard at the back door, it’s coming. Fortunately all these nasties will leave is a nasty sting and an itch I, and anyone willing to brave the backyard barbecue with me, will be scratching at for days. The rest of the world doesn’t get off so easily and if you’re living in sub-Saharan Africa, the risks are a good deal nastier than a red welt and itch. Last year more than 450,000 children died from malaria. The good news is we’ve collectively saved the lives of one million people through increased interventions.