08 September 2014

Measles cases pass 800 in Solomon Islands, Number could be much higher

A 3 month old boy at the National Referral Hospital (NRH), Measles Ward.
© UNICEF Pacific./2014/Tahu

It is hard to know the pain and discomfort three month-old Peter* (real name not given to respect privacy) is going through. But just looking at the rash all over his body gives you an idea. 

02 September 2014

Little beginnings

Linline with her father and daughter.
 © UNICEF Pacific./2014/Thakkar
Imagine being a little girl in a village of less than 500 people on an island in a country that most people don’t know exists. You live in a simple home – dirt floor with a tin roof. No modern gadgets like washing machines, vacuum cleaners or television. In fact, not even electricity. If you are lucky, there is a generator and enough fuel for it to provide some light after sunset. You are likely to drop out after primary school because your parents cannot afford secondary school fees. As a young woman, you will have your first child before the age of 21. Considering two out of three women in your country are victims of violent and sexual abuse, you are likely to experience that as well. Your daily routine involves waking up between 6-7 am, cleaning your home, doing the laundry, washing utensils, subsistence farming, cooking and caring for the family – every single day. This is your life.  

12 August 2014

When giving up is not an option

Villagers helping Susan with weighing the babies before 
vaccination. © UNICEF Pacific./2014/Thakkar
Susan Wokeke is a 30-year old nurse in the village health center of Big Bay Bush on Santo Island (one of Vanuatu’s 83 islands). Fresh out of nursing college, she was posted here at the tender age of 20. With a heart full of aspirations, she wanted to make a difference in the lives of the people here, reach out to them and help them with their health concerns. She soon realised that it was not going to be easy at all.

10 August 2014

Who are you?

Over the weekend, I conducted an exercise asking people around me a simple question, “Who are you?” Think about this question for a moment. Have a quick three-sentence response in mind?


In my experience, invariably, the answer began with a name followed by either what one did for a living and/or where they came from or lived. Please do share and tell us more about who you are with #whoareyou. 

24 July 2014

Did you PLAY today?

Rorona Kalsakau, Just Play Project Manager leading a
Just Play session at the at the Vanuatu Society for
Persons with Disabilities in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
©UNICEF/Pacific/2014/Alcock
Everyday around the Pacific region, children gather in open spaces, at community schools and on empty pitches to take part in Just Play sessions. Equipment bags come out, cones and balls line the field. 

Children gather around their coach and wait in anticipation as the Challenge of the Week from the last session is reviewed. Hands fly into the air in response to their coach’s question: “Who worked hard to make health lifestyle choices, eating 2 fruits and 3 vegetables today?” Smiles can be seen, and applause heard coming from the group acknowledging their accomplishment.