Vientiane Times, Xieng Khouang schoolchildren receive vital health boost
The Give Children A Choice (GCAC) organisation has partnered with Vitamin Angels to provide a year's supply of multivitamins to 24,000 preschool children in Xieng Khouang province.
A ceremony to present the donation was held on May 11 at the Xieng Khouang Provincial Health Department.
The vitamins were presented by GCAC founder Mr Dori Shimoda and Mrs Barbara Shimoda, who heads up GCAC's health programmes, to the Deputy Director of the Xieng Khouang Health Department, Dr Vinyanh Cheryangsaijou.
According to GCAC, the first shipment of over 3 million multivitamin tablets, in over 1,700 boxes and weighing over 10,000kg was delivered to Xieng Khouang on May 7. After the second shipment later this summer, over 9 million chewable multivitamin tablets will have been delivered to the province.
Every preschool child aged between 3 and 5 years old will be able to take one daily multivitamin tablet for one full year. The total cost of the donation exceeds US$209,000.
Dr Vinyanh expressed his thanks to GCAC for their support. "This will be a valuable gift for children in Xieng Khouang so they can receive essential micronutrients. This is a wonderful new beginning of collaboration between GCAC and the Xieng Khouang Health Department," Dr Vinyanh said.
Mr Shimoda said 'I committed myself to helping Lao preschool children nine years ago. I saw too many children doing very little, just playing and dragging a stick in the dirt. There were too many elementary schoolgirls carrying their preschool siblings on their back while school was in session. They told me they were sad about missing school. I believe that preschools nurture a child's physical and mental development during the most critical, formative, first six years of their lives."
GCAC's mission is to build and fill preschools with children. Filling preschools is about healthy children attending school. Healthy children make better students.
Mrs Shimoda said "A good friend, Fred Branfman, introduced us to the USA NGO Vitamin Angels, whose mission is to provide micronutrients to children during their formative years, from 3 to 5 years old. They accepted our application to distribute vitamins in Laos. We thank Vitamin Angels for choosing us to help the preschool children of Xieng Khouang province".
'We look forward to continuing our collaborative efforts with Vitamin Angels and the Xieng Khouang Health Department. We hope that our efforts will help reduce the malnutrition levels of children and assist in achieving Millennium Development Goals," she said.
GCAC is a USA-based NGO that has built 28 preschools in Luang Prabang and Xieng Khouang provinces.
The organisation holds health fairs in rural villages, where it provides free medical care, health, hygiene and nutrition demonstrations for all village children.
Vitamin Angels is dedicated to reducing child mortality worldwide by advancing availability, access and use of essential micronutrients, especially Vitamin A, to newborns, infants and children under five.
In 2010, Vitamin Angels will connect over 20 million children in 40 countries, including the US, with the vital nutrients they need as a foundation for good health.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update May 13, 2010)