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UNICEF, HAYPOST JOIN EFFORTS TO STAMP OUT NEONATAL MORTALITY IN ARMENIA

© UNICEF Armenia / 2008 / Hasmik Arakelyan
Eduard Shahbazyan, the 7-year old winner of the "World Fit for Children" drawing contest, (right) and representative of the Ministry of Transport and Communication of Armenia Tsovinar Galtsyan (left) doing the first day covers.

YEREVAN, 2 June 2008The Ministry of Transport and Communication and the Armenian Postal Service “HayPost” today issued a stamp that honors children and  supports the work of UNICEF in Armenia.  A portion of the revenue from the sale of the stamp will be donated to UNICEF to assist the UN agency’s programme to support children in Armenia. 

“UNICEF is the world’s leading children’s organization. HayPost, in turn, places a high priority on social responsibility, and the need to help address outstanding issues in this society.   We want to put a special emphasis on meeting the needs of childen, as children are the future of any society and at the same time its most vulnerable part,” said HayPost General Director Hans Boon. “We are very glad to start the cooperation with UNICEF in Armenia with such a significant and useful initiative, and we hope this will become a well-established practice of addressing outstanding issues existing in the society.”

The launch of the stamp marks the beginning of a nation-wide  advocacy and fund raising campaign to help reduce neonatal mortality rates in Armenia. The 100 AMD domestic letter rate stamp was designed by HayPost based on a drawing of 7-year old Eduard Shahbazyan who won in a drawing competition conducted under the theme of a “World fit for Children.” Over 600 children between the ages of 7 and 16 participated in the competition that was organized the support of the Armenian UN Association NGO.

“In Armenia,  roughly 26 infants  per 1,000 live births die before their first birthday.  Approximately 65% of these deaths are during the first 28 days of life – the neonatal period. The sale of this stamp sends a strong message about the imperative of placing child survival on top of government’s and public agenda and provides an avenue for the public at large to participate in this campaign to highlight the issue,“ UNICEF Representative in Armenia, Sheldon Yett said during a ceremony at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia.  “Infant mortality rates in Armenia are nearly three times higher in the poorest households than in the wealthiest households.”

Interventions need not be expensive. Better routine maternal and newborn care, including the promotion of  breast feeding, and the provision of basic equipment will help. UNICEF and the Ministry of Health are currently developing a new neonatal strategy that will establish standards for the country’s health providers to follow when taking care of infants and their mothers.

The stamp is the first of its kind ever issued in Armenia. UNICEF will receive 30 AMD (approx.$US 0.10) from the sale of each stamp that will go to support  the country’s efforts to reduce neonatal mortality and meet the Millennium Development Goal 4 that calls for a two-thirds  reduction in child mortality by 2015.

Special flyers, posters and direct mails promoting the stamp and featuring the campaign’s slogan “Buy Five, Help Save a Life!” have already been sent to 900 post offices across the country, and  to philatelist organizations throughout the world. HayPost will also provide  to UNICEF  advertising space in its 900 post offices throughout the country, providing an important new mechanism to help in social mobilization efforts.

For more information, please contact:

Emil Sahakyan, UNICEF Armenia Communication Officer

Tel.: (374 10) 52 35 46

E-mail: esahakyan@unicef.org

 

 
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