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UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Andreea Marin Banica hosts fundraising telethon

© UNICEF Romania/2008
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Andreea Marin Banica holds a baby during her recent trip to Niger.

BUCHAREST, Romania, 11 August 2008 - On May 10th, UNICEF Romania partnered with the National Television for a telethon, raising $440,000 USD for the expansion of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative across Romania. The show was hosted by the National Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, Andreea Marin Banica.

The TV show included a segment on UNICEF's activities internationally. A week earlier Ms. Marin Banica had visited Niger for a documentary on UNICEF’s work on malnutrition and female genital mutilation, as well as on education and healthcare for children with disabilities. Through the documentary, Ms. Marin Banica  introduced the viewers to many children’s issues that are little known in Romania.

During her Niger trip, Ms. Marin Banica visited a baby-friendly hospital and a school for mothers, where women were taught how to take better care of their new-born babies. She assisted at the weighing of children and the allocation of weekly nutrient rations for the families. She also visited a community where UNICEF works to eliminate female genital mutilation. At a centre for children with disabilities, she talked with children and parents and learned firsthand how UNICEF has made a positive impact on their lives.

© UNICEF Romania/2008
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors Nana Mouskouri (left) and Andreea Marin Banica at the fundraising telethon to support UNICEF's baby-friendly hospital projects in Romania.

“With the funds raised, UNICEF will help 25 Romanian maternity hospitals meet the criteria to become Baby-Friendly Hospitals by the end of 2009," said Edmond McLoughney, UNICEF Representative in Romania.

A great number of personalities were present at the Gala to support the campaign. Prominent were President Traian Băsescu, Prime-Minister Călin Popescu Tăriceanu,  Minster of Health Eugen Nicolăescu, Under Secretary of State at the National Authority for Children’s Rights Protection, Gabriella Tonk and the Romanian Ambassador to the UN,  Simona Miculescu. Together with other well known figures they answered telephones to accept donations from viewers.

The funds raised will cover the training of hospital healthcare staff to promote breastfeeding and assist new mothers. Beds for mothers and newborn babies will be provided in order to implement the “rooming in” system; as well as scales, changing tables, and other equipment. Funds will also be used to develop a “Parent-Friendly Hospital” component involving educational and support activities for parents; strengthening the community nurses network across the country; and raising public awareness on the benefits of breastfeeding.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative was launched in 1991 by UNICEF as an effort to turn all maternities into centres that support and promote breastfeeding.



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