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May 2010

Dame Susan Devoy Fights Pneumonia in Developing Countries

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MEDIA RELEASE

&lt style="font-family: &ampquotArial&ampquot,&ampmso-ansi-language: EN-US mso-fareast-language: EN-US mso-bidi-language: AR-SA"&gtNew Zealand sporting icon, Dame Susan Devoy has been announced as an ambassador in an international initiative to help save children from pneumonia.

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One of New Zealand’s sporting icons, Dame Susan Devoy, will team up with Vicks this winter in an initiative to help combat pneumonia – the biggest killer of children under five in developing countries

According to latest UNICEF figures pneumonia kills almost 2 million children in developing countries every year.

Pneumonia is a serious and common complication of measles and kills more children in developing countries than any other illness – more than AIDS, malaria and measles combined. However, the risk of death from pneumonia can be significantly reduced if a child is immunised against measles.

Dame Susan Devoy says she is proud to be supporting the Vicks Road to Relief initiative – which offers Kiwis a simple way to make a real difference for a child in need.

Each time a specially marked Vicks Road to Relief product is purchased between now and August, Vicks will pay for one child in a developing country to be immunised against measles, to help in the fight against pneumonia.

“The Vicks Road to Relief campaign’s ‘buy one pack, immunize one child’, approach means that Kiwis purchasing a product for their own family can also dramatically help a less fortunate family somewhere else in the world,” says Dame Susan.

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All funds raised will go to UNICEF, who will ensure that the measles vaccines are administered in the places where they are most urgently needed. The goal is to fund 2 million immunisations in 2010 alone.

A mother of four, Dame Susan says she hopes the programme will raise awareness and encourage more Kiwi families to become involved and prevent more unnecessary suffering in developing countries.

“In New Zealand having access to immunisations is something we pretty much take for granted. I was surprised to learn that pneumonia was the cause of so many child deaths in developing countries – especially considering it is something that, in many cases, could be prevented through a simple measles immunisation,” she says.

The Executive Director of UNICEF NZ, Dennis McKinlay, says pneumonia is the “forgotten killer” of children and despite claiming the lives of millions of children, pneumonia receives little attention.

“It is estimated that each year, almost two million children in developing countries died from pneumonia.  Immunisation can mean the difference between life and death for a child in a developing country and more needs to be done to stop the ’lethal’ spread of preventable diseases like pneumonia,” says Mr McKinlay

For more information about Vicks Road to Relief and the countries that will benefit from New Zealanders support this winter, visit www.vicksroadtorelief.com

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Fleur Revell
Fleur Revell is one of the country’s most eminent PR consultants and public relations practitioners with more than 20 years industry experience behind her. Fleur is also a three times Qantas Media Awards winner and Feature Writer of the Year; and has an exceptional working knowledge of the New Zealand media landscape and its accelerating evolution in the digital age.
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