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DEVELOPMENT REPORT - June 24, 2002: 'Facts for Life' - 2002-06-17

This is the VOA Special English Development Report.

The United Nations Children’s Agency, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization have released a new version of a publication aimed at saving the lives of children. The book is called “Facts for Life.” It is filled with information about effective, low-cost ways to protect the health of young people.

International health experts estimate nearly eleven-million children under the age of five die each year from preventable and treatable causes. About ninety percent of these deaths happen at home.

Gro Harlem Brundtland heads the World Health Organization. She says that many deaths of children could be prevented if people understood what to do when children get sick. People should also know when to seek medical help.

Doctor Brundtland says that pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and measles are the main killers of babies. She says diarrhea and measles can be treated for a very small amount of money.

“Facts for Life” was first published in nineteen-eighty-nine. Since that time, officials say it has become one of the most widely-read books in the world. More than fifteen-million copies are being used in two- hundred countries. The information is important for parents, caregivers, health workers, teachers and government officials.

This latest version has thirteen parts, each dealing with one major cause of child sickness and death. For example, one part deals mainly with AIDS and the H-I-V virus that causes it. Other parts of the book have information about giving birth and breastfeeding. There is also information about child development, early learning, preventative medicines, healthy food, clean living conditions, emergencies and accidents.

“Facts for Life” is offered in two-hundred-fifteen languages. The book is written in simple language so that all people can understand the medical information. The information in the book is based on the latest scientific findings.

“Facts for Life” costs about seven dollars. You can order it or download the information from the UNICEF Internet Web site. The address is Or you can contact the UNICEF office or committee in your country.

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Jill Moss.