Shot@Life educates, connects and empowers Americans to champion vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries. A national call to action for this global cause, the campaign rallies the American public, members of Congress, and civil society partners around the fact that together, we can save a child’s life every 20 seconds by expanding access to vaccines. By encouraging Americans to learn about, advocate for, and donate vaccines, the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign will decrease vaccine-preventable childhood deaths and give children a shot at a healthy life. To learn more, go to ShotatLife.org.
I also was lucky enough to attend the UN Foundation’s Social Good Summit where people from organizations discussed the work they do around the world trying to get people the basic things they need in life: food, shelter, and health.
The statistics are staggering.
1.4 million children die from preventable diseases every year.
21,000 children die each day from preventable diseases.
17% of global mortality of children under five comes from diseases vaccines could have prevented.
Every 20 seconds a child dies from a disease a vaccine could have prevented.
It can feel so hopeless sometimes. But as I learned last August, for a mere $20 a child can receive all the vaccines they need. $20!
Shot@Life talks about the difference vaccines can make around the world.
Thanks to a coordinated global effort, the number of new cases of polio — a disease that once paralyzed more than 1,000 children a day — has dropped 99 percent in the last 20 years. The world is now nearly polio-free. We are on the path to similar success with measles. The Measles Initiative has vaccinated one billion children in 60 developing countries since 2001 and has decreased measles deaths by 74 percent; changing measles from a disease that used to be the leading killer of children to one that we are close to eliminating altogether. There are also groundbreaking new vaccines like — pneumococcal and rotavirus — that prevent pneumonia and diarrhea, and if distributed widely, also have the potential to save the lives of millions more children.
It’s ironic, of course, that most of us reading this live in countries where vaccine preventable diseases have disappeared nearly completely – enough that many of us opt out of vaccinating our children because we believe they are safe (this is not a decision we made; Tori is fully vaccinated). But in other parts of the world, not vaccinating isn’t a luxury – it’s a death sentence.
Rukhsar is not quite three years old, and India’s last known case of polio (did you know there was still polio happening in the world?). But Rukhsar is also a symbol of the hard work that’s been done in India to eradicate polio. According to Shot@Life, “India, with the help of UNICEF and government intervention, was able to approach the task district-by-district, village-by-village and house-by-house to make sure that every last child received the important polio vaccine drop. This massive effort in the provinces of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh is now being looked to as world health officials plan to eradicate polio in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan – the 3 remaining endemic countries.”
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The impact of vaccines on the lives of children around the world is incredible. Now, you can help sustain the impact by sending an email to your member of congress. Welcome your members to the 113th Congress and ask them to make sure that global health and vaccines are a priority in the new Congress. Take action and make an impact!
This story comes from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and is part of Shot@Life’s ’28 Days of Impact’ Campaign. A follow up to Blogust to raise awareness for global vaccines and the work being done by Shot@Life and their partners to help give children around the world a shot at a healthy life. Each day in February, you can read another impactful story on global childhood vaccines. Tomorrow, don’t miss Elena’s post! Go to www.shotatlife.org/impact to learn more.