Kiwi Celeb Breathes Life Into Battle Against Deadly Disease

( Popular New Zealand media personality, Carly Flynn, has today announced her involvement with a global initiative that aims to reduce the number of child deaths from pneumonia in one of the world’s most underdeveloped countries.

The Vicks Breathe for Life Project, a partnership between the Procter & Gamble (P&G) cough/cold brand and Save the Children charity, will treat 75,000 children suffering from the deadly condition in Bangladesh with a focus on prevention, diagnosis and treatment in the most remote communities where access to basic healthcare is sparse.

According to the World Health Organisation, every 20 seconds a child dies from pneumonia* – a total of 4,320 young lives lost every day to a preventable, treatable disease which infects the lungs causing cough, fever and breathing difficulties.

It is the leading cause of death among children under the age of five, killing 1.4 million every year worldwide – more than any other illness including AIDS, malaria and measles combined.**

Now television host and mum of two, Flynn has lent her support to the campaign to bring local awareness to the cause and help save the lives of thousands of children.

“I was so shocked to read the statistics about how many children die every day from such an easily treatable disease. As a mother it is especially frightening to think that pneumonia is so prevalent throughout the world and continues to kills millions of helpless kids,” she says.

Flynn says that as New Zealanders we can take for granted the quality and accessibility of our health system but we can’t forget about those who are less fortunate.

“I am passionate about encouraging Kiwis to join the fight against childhood pneumonia. In our own small way, this is an opportunity for mums like myself to help others. The great thing about this campaign is it’s so easy for Kiwis to contribute to,” she says.

Every time a Vicks product is purchased and for every ‘like’ on the Vicks New Zealand Facebook page from 1 April, Vicks will make a donation to the Save the Children pneumonia campaign in Bangladesh.

Save the Children New Zealand CEO, Liz Gibbs, says that with support from Kiwis through the Vicks Breathe for Life Project, the charity aims to train an additional 1,600 health workers and village doctors who will provide accessible healthcare services to 135,000 children in Bangladesh.

They will also reach 270,000 mothers and caregivers through the programme, providing them with the skills to look out for the early warning signs of pneumonia.

“Save the Children has a long history working with developing countries to improve the lives of children around the world. With the support of Vicks and the New Zealand public, we’ll be able to strengthen our work at the community level to train health workers on proper pneumonia diagnosis and treatment and to provide educational programmes. We have a long term commitment with our partner, P&G to ensure we create a lasting change in those communities in need,” Gibbs says.

Since 2010, Vicks has helped to immunise over 4.5 million children in developing countries under the age of five against measles. Providing vaccines against measles is a key measure to prevent pneumonia, a commitment previously delivered by the brand through the Vicks Road to Relief initiative.

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Media Release 2 April 2012.