Saturday, August 1, 2009

New United Nations Stamps honor ECOSOC

On 6 August 2009, the United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) will issue a set of six commemorative stamps honoring the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The Economic and Social Council was established under the Charter of the United Nations as the principal organization to coordinate the economic, social work of the 14 UN specialized agencies, the nine functional commissions and the five regional commissions. The Council also receives reports from eleven United Nations funds and programs. ECOSOC serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues, and for formulating policy recommendations to Member States.

At the World Summit in 2005, Heads of State and Governments mandated that the Economic and Social Council to hold an Annual Ministerial Review (AMR). The theme of the AMRJ for 2009 is Implementing internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to global public health”. Against this background, and as part of the ECOSOC campaign to spur action towards achieving this goal, the United Nations Postal Administration, in collaboration with the ECOSOC secretariat, decided to issue six stamps illustrating the AMR’s 2009 theme.

The stamp denominations are: 44 cents, 98 cents, Es. 0.85, Es. 1.80, € 0.55 and € 0.65. They measure 35 mm horizontally by 50 mm vertically with a perforation of 12.8. The horizontal sheets of 20 stamps have four marginal inscriptions, two in the left margin and two in the right margin. The stamps were designed by Rorie Katz of the United Nations. The stamps were printed in offset by Sweden Post.

Water and Sanitation is the subject of the 44 cent US stamp.

Water is essential for life. The amount of fresh water on earth is limited, and its quality is under constant pressure. Preserving the quality of fresh water is important for drinking-water supply, food production and recreational water use. Water quality can be compromised by the presence of infectious agents, toxic chemicals and radiological hazards. Inadequate sanitation is a major cause of disease worldwide, and improving sanitation is known to have a significant beneficial impact on health both in house holds and across communities. The word “sanitation” also refers to the maintenance of hygienic conditions, through such services as garbage collection and wastewater disposal. Domestic hygiene, access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities are crucial to enhanced global public health.

Medicine is the theme of the 98 cent US stamp.

Traditional medicine is the sum total of the knowledge, skills and practices based on the theories, beliefs and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness. Many countries in Africa,Asia and Latin America use traditional medicines to help meet some of their primary health-care needs.

Maternal health practices are shown on the Fs 0.85 Swiss stamp.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every year over 500,000 women die from difficulties during pregnancy and childbirth or in the six weeks after delivery. Every year over one million newborns die within their first 24 hours of life because of lack of quality care. Maternal mortality is one of the largest health inequities in the world, with 99 per cent of maternal deaths occurring in developing countries—half of them in Africa

Access to medicines is depicted on the Fs1.80 Swiss stamp

.Essential medicines are those that satisfy the priority heath-care needs of the population. They are selected with due regard to public-health relevance, evidence on efficacy and safety and comparative cost-effectiveness. Essential medicines are intended to be available within the context of functioning heath systems at all times in adequate amounts, in the appropriate dosage forms, with assured quality and adequate information, and at a price the individual and the community can afford The implementation of the concept of essential medicines is intended to be flexible and adaptable to many different situations. Exactly which medicines are regarded as essential remains a national responsibility.

The € 0.55 Austrian stamp promotes the fight against HIV/AIDS

Every day, nearly 7,500 people become infected with HIV and 5,500 die from AIDS, mostly due to a lack of HIV prevention and treatment services. Malaria, together with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, is one of the major public-heath challenges undermining development in the poorest countries in the world. Malaria kills an African child every 30 seconds. Many children who survive an episode of severe malaria may suffer from learning impairments or brain damage. Pregnant women and their unborn children are also particularly vulnerable to malaria, which is a major cause of prenatal mortality, low birth weight and maternal anemia.

The € 0.65 Austrian stamp illustrates the need to reduce child mortality rates.

Every year nearly 11 million children die before their fifth birthday. Of these deaths, 99 per cent are in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, It is the poorest who suffer the most. A limited number of health conditions are responsible for three quarters of all child deaths. Malnutrition is the single most important underlying cause of child mortality. It is associated with 54 per cent of all child deaths. The establishment of a strong national immunization services in many countries over recent years has ensured that today over 70 per cent of the world’s targeted population is reached with immunization.