independent

Saturday 30 August 2014

Consumers asked to support Fyffes vaccination campaign

Published 12/03/2014 | 05:20

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Irish and Munster rugby star and UNICEF Ireland ambassador, Donncha O'Callaghan is pictured with Emma Crewe and Gerry Cunningham of Fyffes and four year old Auwalu, who contracted polio at the age of three. Fyffes were in Nigeria with UNICEF to witness the polio issue firsthand.

Within the coming months, Dundalk-based banana importer Fyffes will intensify its campaign of support for UNICEF's polio vaccinations programme by introducing two new elements that will provide an opportunity for customers, children and members of the public generally to become involved in efforts to immunise young children in those countries where the deadly virus still poses a major health risk.

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Managing Director Gerry Cunningham and Sales and Marketing Manager Emma Crewe recently returned from a four-day, fact-finding mission to Nigeria where they had gone to gauge the extent of the polio problem in that country and to view the administration of a vaccinations programme being carried out by UNICEF supported by funding from Fyffes.

With them on their visit was Irish and Munster rugby second-row forward and UNICEF ambassador, Donncha O'Callaghan.

Under the programme, the goal is to immunise some 1 million young children, age five years and under, against the deadly virus. The latest tranche of this is being targeted at children living in Nigeria and in other underdeveloped nations as part of an overall drive to eradicate polio worldwide by 2018.

Coming soon as part of this drive will be an in-store element to be carried out in conjunction with Dunnes Stores, SuperValu and other leading retailers that will give customers the opportunity to support the work through their purchase of the Freddy Fyffes bagged banana product and a schools-based initiative whereby primary pupils can contribute to the cause whilst learning about the impact that the disease is having on young children in affected countries.

Commenting, Fyffes managing director Gerry Cunningham said 'this is the second major initiative we have undertaken aimed at eradicating disease in sub-Saharan Africa. Over the last three years, we have collaborated with UNICEF in funding the purchase of 50,000 mosquito nets supplied to help control the spread of malaria in Mozambique.'

Confessing to having been deeply struck by the suffering that polio has brought to children and adults she had met during her visit to Nigeria, their sales and marketing manager and Faughart resident Emma Crewe said 'support for humanitarian aid programmes is arguably the most satisfying cause for which business can allocate funds'.

'At Fyffes, we are proud to support such a reputable organisation as UNICEF and to know that the support which the company, its employees and its customers are providing will be put to such praiseworthy use in protecting the health of so many young children who might otherwise be at risk of contracting a disease that would affect their lives irreparably' she said.

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