Every time you protect the health of a child, there is hope

Vida Parezanovic was born before the Second World, and as a child went through all its horrors.

UNICEF Serbia
Vida Parezanović
UNICEF Serbia/2016

15 December 2016

Vida Parezanovic was born before the Second World, and as a child went through all its horrors.

Having seen death, suffering and diseases that the war brought, she decided to become a doctor. She decided to focus her work on decreasing child mortality rates in the country, which at the time were as high as 140-150 infant deaths per one thousand births.

“There were multiple health problems; from different diseases, infectious and parasitic diseases, tuberculosis was also widespread at the time, to the fact that the success of vaccination was poor,” says Vida Parezanovic, recalling the things she was faced with as a paediatrician in post-war Yugoslavia.

The doctors could not combat the high infant mortality rates without assistance. UNICEF became a trusted partner in this quest.

“We worked with UNICEF on many different fronts to combat high infant mortality rates. Courses were developed for youth in villages, for future mothers, and counselling offices for mothers and children were opened. UNICEF helped by enabling the work of counselling offices for children, and made them operational,’’ Dr Parezanovic recalls.

The results of this joint work were incredible.

“UNICEF did a lot to reduce the infant mortality rate in the country. In places where the programme was being actively implemented with UNICEF's help, after 18 years the infant mortality rate went down to – 18 deaths per one thousand births,’’ she says, as if she herself is surprised by the success they had achieved.

For a world without war and one in which children are protected, Dr Vida Parezanovic has a strong message: “For every child, hope.”