Perhaps there is a Santa Claus after all. This, at least, is how I felt when I read Harry Nelson's informative and well-informed article (The Times, Dec. 12) on the advances made in reducing child deaths and disabilities through immunization programs throughout the developing world. This is not to mention the stocking stuffer offered up on the editorial pages also drawing attention to UNICEF's (not UNESCO's!) contributions to child health in its 1986 "The State of the World's Children" report.
This report, a major compendium of facts and information about the conditions of children in 117 countries in which UNICEF has programs, is published annually. It provides ample documentation that indeed some of the most monumental problems facing these children can indeed be addressed successfully through social mobilization and what is now being called social marketing -- bringing the knowledge and low-tech approaches to parents themselves, to villages and town leadership, to volunteer health workers, to the churches and other indigenous organizations, of what they can do to prevent illness, disease and malnutrition in their own children.
If UNICEF's and the World Health Organization's goal of universal immunization for all the world's children can be achieved by 1990, and now even the most reluctant experts believe this is possible, then what can we not accomplish on behalf of our most vulnerable and threatened resource?