Do you remember what you liked to do when you were five?
Based on these photos from my mother, I liked writing (while on
planes), painting, traveling, spending time with my family, putting
on puppet shows, and -- given the photos from oceans, lakes, and
our pool -- absolutely anything involving the water.
Apparently, I still like the same things that I liked when I was
five! Although it's been far too long since I put on a puppet
Annibell is another happy five-year-old. She bustles around her
small dirt yard in a small hot village in Kenya poking curiously
into every possible adventure. She makes up games with the cards
she found in a ditch near her family's home. She carries her
younger sister around her family's compound, wrapped on her back
with a cloth, acting just like her mama. She figures out how to
roll an old rubber tire from a bicycle up the road using just a
stick. She uses that stick to draw designs in the red dirt.
Annibell has a smile that will make you fall in love.
should have the chance to be 5 years old. Five is a magic age.
But, every year, 7 million of our babies and toddlers and little
ones die before they reach 5. A crazy number - seven million!
In Africa, ONE in EIGHT children die before they turn five.
Annibell's older sister died from a pneumonia before she got to her
first birthday. A cough and fever that could have been treated with
a cheap, basic antibiotic took away her chance to run and play and
laugh with Annibell. When she looks at Annibell's smile, her mother
wonders what it would have been like to see Caren's smile too.
Almost all of these seven million lost five-year-olds die from
things that we can prevent. Just like Annibell's sister Caren. They
die from pneumonia, diarrhea, malnutrition, and not getting what is
needed when babies are born. Almost all of these deaths are
UNICEF just closed the "Child
Survival Call to Action" summit in DC with a renewed commitment
to eliminate preventable child deaths. A renewed commitment to more
fifth birthdays. A renewed commitment to more five-year-olds
excitedly exploring their worlds. Surely we can make this happen.
Surely we all want more happy five-year-old memories.
In our AMPATH programs, we offer support for the most vulnerable
of five-year-olds through our
Orphans and Vulnerable Children program. In our primary
healthcare initiative, we try to get more and more babies
through those riskiest of days when they make their entrance into
the world and through their first years of life. More fifth