“Zinc Saves Kids” is an initiative of the International Zinc Association (IZA) to improve the survival, growth and development of undernourished children by funding UNICEF-supported zinc programs around the world.
IZA has committed to raise three million US$ over a three-year period from the global zinc community. The campaign will involve IZA member companies, zinc industry customer groups, suppliers and employees. The funds will be used to support zinc supplementation programs for children under the age of five who are most impacted by micronutrient deficiencies. 450,000 children under the age of five die annually due to zinc deficiency, and many who survive suffer lifelong repercussions from early childhood micronutrient deficiencies.
Zinc deficiency is a major health threat for children in low-income countries but it is one which can be readily addressed with cheap, simple and existing tools such as zinc supplements. A number of local zinc supplementation programs are already being implemented in some countries with excellent results, especially in the treatment and prevention of diarrhea. Diarrhea constitutes the second most common cause of child deaths worldwide. Two million children under the age of five die from diarrhea every year.
“Children are our greatest resource, we can’t allow that millions of them die every year, especially when zinc is part of the solution,” says Don Lindsay, President and CEO of Teck Resources Limited and Chairman of the International Zinc Association. “I strongly encourage our industry to help solve the global problem of malnutrition by donating to the Zinc Saves Kids campaign.
In addition to the ‘Zinc Saves Kids’ fundraising campaign, IZA is continuing to:
- Advance research on zinc’s benefits for human health and nutrition
- Raise public awareness of zinc as a problem of global public health significance that can be addressed in a cost-effective manner with existing means
- Seize every opportunity to urge governments, international and national development partners and other groups to support zinc programs
- Advocate and leverage additional funding from donor groups in support of zinc programs designed to improve child survival
- Promote the nutritional benefits of correcting zinc deficiency in crops