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Poverty Alleviation Projects

August 31, 2010

Dear Friends:

Welcome to your August 2010 report for The $10 Club.

231,214. It’s an important number. Keep it in mind.

Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa is one of the poorest countries in the world. Women and children are particularly vulnerable to disease and premature death.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 40.1% of children under 5 in Cote d’Ivoire are stunted, 16.7% of children under 5 are underweight, while over 69% of pre-school age children (0-36 months) are anemic.

The maternal mortality ratio in the country is 810 per 100,000 live births. WHO estimates that 10.3% of pregnant women countrywide suffer from night blindness and in the capital, the Abidjan slum, alone – which comprises a large portion of the city’s population – 19.6% of pregnant women are vitamin A deficient.

WHO and UNICEF categorize Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) in Cote d’Ivoire as a severe public health problem, and place it among priority countries for intervention.

Vitamin Angels is a nonprofit organization that works to mobilize and deploy private sector resources to advance availability, access and use of micronutrients, especially vitamin A, by newborns, infants and children in need. Vitamin Angels reduces child mortality worldwide by connecting essential nutrients, especially vitamin A, with infants and children under five. Essential nutrients enable young immune systems to fight infectious diseases, helping children attain good health and providing the opportunity to lead meaningful and productive lives.

The Vitamin Angels Cote d’Ivoire Vitamin A Project was initiated in June 2009 and continues through May 2011 as an agreement between the Vitamin Angel Alliance, Inc. (VA) and Medical Assistance Programs International (MAP International). The project goal is to mitigate micronutrient deficiencies and associated morbidity and mortality, and to support the healthy development of vulnerable infants and children. This project is part of a larger integrated Maternal and Child Survival Program coordinated by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and MAP International, in order to bring preventative and therapeutic care to Cote d’Ivoire.

This month, 320 of us joined together to donate $3,200 to Vitamin Angels to support their Vitamin A delivery program in Cote d’Ivoire. This grant will cover the purchase of 231,214 vitamin A 100,000 iu capsules for children 6-11 months of age. This will cover close to 70% of the need for the entire country. Our project involves five community health centers in five different slums in the suburbs of Abidjan. You have just helped nearly a quarter of a million children in need. I told you it was an important number. Thank you.

With an estimated 190 million children under five suffering from vitamin A deficiency (VAD) worldwide, the rate of infants and children contracting such common but severe diseases as measles, malaria, diarrhea and acute respiratory tract infections is dangerously high. Battling these illnesses with weakened immune systems, a consequence of VAD, results in too many young lives cut short.

Vitamin A is essential to immune function especially in children under five who are most vulnerable to common infections and diseases. Together with health advocates worldwide, distribution of vitamin A has helped reduce the number of child deaths to less than 10 million annually for the first time on record.

Vitamin A supplementation is simple, cost-effective, and has the single greatest potential to improve global health. Unlike other treatments, one high-dose vitamin A capsule can provide one child with sufficient vitamin A for six months. This alone reduces the risk of under-five child mortality by 23%. It’s also a proven cure for one of the most severe effects of VAD, xerophthalmia, a disorder of the eye that can lead to permanent blindness.

Vitamin Angels has assured me that 100% of our donation will go to purchase the tablets with no overhead costs. So we really are helping an astounding number of children this month. I have to say, if this amount of money could protect this many children for this long every year, there is just no reason for any child to go without life-saving vitamins. A group of compassionate people willing to spare $10 this month can save a quarter of a million lives. Imagine if the governments, foundations, and corporations of the world could make a commitment to eradicate global poverty and human suffering equal to yours.

So thank you again for stepping up and making this modest sacrifice. Somewhere in West Africa, each of you just saved 723 children. Wow. It’s a big number indeed.

Saving the world, ten dollars at a time,

The $10 Club is a nonprofit corporation registered in the District of Columbia.
Contributions are exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The $10 Club 2040 Tunlaw Rd., NW Washington, DC 20007 (202) 337-3123 adam@thetendollarclub.org