UNICEF gears up for innovation

The UNICEF logo. Photo by: Antonio Zugaldia / CC BY

UNICEF will push for more innovations this year to address people’s humanitarian needs, but it needs increased support to embark on this journey.

Speaking on the first regular session of the UNICEF executive board for 2012, Executive Director Anthony Lake said he believes innovation can accelerate the progress UNICEF has made across “all of UNICEF.”

Lake identified some of the innovations the agency has supported, including the development of polio vaccines, dispersible amoxicillin tablets and easily ingestible antibiotics. He also highlighted UNICEF’s Corporate Emergency Activation Procedure, which has helped the agency rapidly deploy staff and supplies to the Horn of Africa.

For 2012, however, Lake said UNICEF is pursuing the use of SMS technology in community clinics to speed up HIV diagnosis in infants and improve health care access. It is also spearheading the development of Rapid Family Tracing and Reunification, which allows children to reunite with their families faster in emergency situations.

But to achieve the promise of these innovations, Lake said “flexible funding” is needed. He said further income growth will be critical for the year ahead.

Looking into innovations seem to be the theme of the new year. Bill Gates, in his annual letter, also made the case on the importance of innovation in the areas of agriculture and global health.

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About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.