"There are many poor families in Gansu Province. I saw myself those children
desperately needing the basic health and hygiene services provided
by UNICEF. With our help, they have the opportunities to develop
their potentials," said Karen Mok, the ambassador for the UNICEF
Hong Kong Committee, at a press conference in Beijing on
On January 19, UNICEF sent a field team on a weeklong trip to
Jingning County, one of the most underdeveloped places in Gansu, to
visit mothers and children, investigate the local health and
medical situation and help those in need.
"I firmly believe that one of UNICEF's greatest advantages among
all United Nation's organizations is the presence of its 37
national committees for UNICEF around the world," said Dr. Yin Yin
Nwe, representative of UNICEF Office for China. "And to understand
why, we just have to look at the very program organized by Hong
Kong Committee and all our partners here today. All are here for
the common call of children."
Dr. Nwe called the program an example of how UNICEF collaborates
with government partners, major celebrities, private sectors and
civil societies, and all kinds of organizations. She also hoped to
raise the awareness among tens of thousands more people to the
plight of western China's children through the program to better
help women and children there.
Karen Mok, a pop star from Hong Kong who was assigned as
ambassador for UNICEF in 2004, also shared her experience of the
weeklong trip to the conference.
She was deeply touched by a smart and adorable boy, Liangliang
(an alias), a six-year-old living with his grandparents. After only
one prenatal examination, Liangliang's mother went into labor at
home and died of respiratory complications one hour later. Due to a
lack of medical facilities, home delivery threatens both mothers
and babies, a common threat in rural China.
Another handicapped boy, Xiaolin (an alias) was also delivered
at home with the assistance of a village doctor. Delayed medical
treatment complicated his respiratory problem and fever into severe
mental and physical disability. Though different from normal
children, Xiaolin received the same love and care from his parents,
who are both poor farmers.
As a woman, Karen Mok fully understood a mother's desire to take
care of her children and called for all deliveries to be assisted
by medical professionals in hospitals, a practice strongly
advocated by UNICEF.
The trip was co-organized by UNICEF, China's Ministry of
Commerce and Ministry of Health.
One of the poorest provinces in China, Gansu witnesses a
maternity death rate that stands at a chilling double of the
national average. The death rate of newborn babies is also 50
percent higher than the average. Many are born with cleft lips and
heart disease and only 81.2 percent of the children finish five
years primary school. Though mainly relying on agriculture, the
province claims some of the nation's lowest production value due to
barren fields and atrocious weather.
Karan Mok, Ambassador
of Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF was talking with a woman village
doctor. In rural China, village doctors receive a regular monthly
Karan Mok, Ambassador
of Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF took a picture with Meimei (an
alias), a four-year-old girl with her mother Chunfang (an alias).
The mother suffers from hypertesion. Pregnant women in the village
rarely receive necessary prenatal exminations.
Karen Mok, Ambassador
of Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF visited Xiaolin (an alias), an
eight-year-old boy suffering from mental and physical disabilty due
to respiratory problem upon birth.
Liangliang (an alias),
a six-year-old whose mother died of respiratory complications when
gave birth to him at home.
Thanks to UNICEF's
Local Planning and Action for Children (LPAC), Zhao Yongping
(right) became a village offical. The LPAC has provided
opportunities of development for women.
(China.org.cn by staff reporter Huang Shan, January 29,