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School children help to stop Avian Influenza spread in Ukraine

Kyiv, 25 September 2007 Following the summer long competition on the prevention of avian influenza spread the award ceremony of the winners took place today. 

Famous Ukrainian singer Ani Lorak that was actively involved in the campaign during 2007 has handed valuable prises to the winners.

UNICEF has launched an information campaign on avian influenza prevention in May 2006. It has been a year long attempt to raise awareness on avian influenza that still threats all the countries around the world. Since children are the most vulnerable to avian influenza pandemic, the campaign considered children and youth as the primary target audience, especially those who have regular contact with poultry. 

During April-August 2007 rural children of nine oblasts were involved in different type of activities in their communities, they were documenting what they were doing and submitting their reports to rayon then oblast departments of education and finally to the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. More then 1000 children have participated in the competition. Using their fresh thinking and creative approach children have developed hundreds of pictures and drawings, poems, songs, fairy tails, conducted street theatre plays, information visits to their neighbours and friends. The winners at rayon and oblasts stages were rewarded with the prizes provided by UNICEF and USAID.

‘Children were not only informed about the ways of transmission and ways of prevention of avian influenza but also became active participants of the campaign’ said Jeremy Hartley, ‘their positive attitude have shown how all available methods should be used for effective communication of the messages and prevention of avian influenza’.

The jury of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine have defined three best works. The children from around the country came to Kyiv to participate in the award ceremony. The winners namely: team of the Kherson oblast ecological natural centre, 1 place, team of the nature admires ‘White Swan’from Summy oblast, 2 place, team of Stepnogirsk school from Zaporizhya oblast, 3 place, were awarded with valuable prizes.

Even though avian influenza is now better understood, the problem still exists globally. Seven of the nine avian influenza deaths in the region have been children, so getting the right message to families about the disease is critical. UNICEF is working closely with Government of Ukraine and other partners to arm families with the knowledge and skills they need to protect themselves and their children from avian influenza.

UNICEF is conducting information campaigns on avian influenza in more than 140 countries. In Ukraine the campaign is being conducted with the financial support of the European Commission and USAID in nine high risk oblasts - Zaporizhska, Dnipropetrovska, Donetska, Mykolaivska, Odeska, Khersonska, Sumska, Chernigivska and AR Crimea.


For 60 years UNICEF has been the world's leader for children, working on the ground in 157 countries to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world's largest provider of vaccines for poor countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information:
Maryanna Zaichykova, Programme Assistant on Avian Influenza Project,
UNICEF Tel:(+380)44 230 25 14, Email:
Dmytro Konyk, Communication Officer, UNICEF
Tel: (+380) 44 230 25 14,
Anna Sukhodolska, Communication Assistant, UNICEF
Tel: (+380) 44 230 25 14,



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