If you could prevent a child’s death would you? Of course you would. Picture all the children who enter kindergarten in the US each year and then imagine half of them being dead by the end of the year from preventable diseases. That’s the number of children in developing countries who are lost each year, all for the want of some simple vaccines. (Statistics in this post are provided by the United Nations Foundation).
One in five children around the world does not have access to the vaccines they need to survive, which means that a child dies every 20 seconds in developing countries of a disease that can be prevented by a vaccine.
This does not have to happen. There is a very simple solution.
$20 can provide a lifetime of life-saving vaccines for a child in a developing country. The United Nations Foundation with many partners, has a program called Shot@Life focused on global health for children, currently by providing vaccines against four preventable diseases: polio, measles, diarrhea and pneumonia.
In the US, many of us have the option to delay or even deny vaccines, where in other parts of the world, mothers are walking 15 miles, desperate to get their children vaccines so they won’t lose another child to a preventable disease. United Nations Foundation Shot@Life Director Devi Ramachandran Thomas shared with us that in some countries, “They may have very few posessions, but they cling onto their immunization cards as their most precious possession, because it is that important.”
Every child deserves a shot at life. Every child should be able to reach the milestones we look forward to our own children reaching. His first smile. Her first bike ride. His first time reading a book out loud all by himself. Her first cartwheel. Knowing the facts, can we turn a blind eye? We can’t.
I learned about Shot@Life by attending a press event Friday evening, hosted by Monica Sakala of Wired Momma and Anastasia and Gianluigi Dellaccio, owners of the local business Dolci Gelati. They are ambassadors for the program and shared their stories about why they have become involved. And while the event itself was lighthearted and fun, the seriousness of the campaign was not lost on any of us who were there. Children are dying. And we can stop it. But we have to get the word out about how simple this solution is.
Here are a few more facts to know:
- 70% of all unvaccinated children live in just 10 developing countries.
- The Measles Initiative, which vaccinated one billion children in 60 developing countries since 2001, decreased world measles deaths by 78%.
- Polio eradication is within reach — the world is 99% polio-free, but getting that final 1% is critical.
This week is World Immunization Week. Will you join me in advocating about the need to help? Here are some very simple things you can do:
- Educate yourself further about the need and the program at the Shot@Life site.
- Tweet about the program or World Immunization Week using the hashtags #shotatlifedc and #vaccineswork. Feel free to give a shout out to @shotatlife and to me as well @caffandaprayer.
- Don’t know what to say? You can always tweet this post using the short link http://caffeineandaprayer.com/?p=3232 with the hash tags #shotatlifedc and #vaccineswork.
- Keep current on the campaign by following @ShotatLife on Twitter and Liking them on Facebook.
- Sign the pledge on their web site.
- Put your money where your mouth is and donate whatever you can to the cause – remember, $20 can provide a lifetime of vaccines to a child.
- Share, share, share the info any way you can, from old-fashioned word-of-mouth to your personal Facebook pages, to even offering to host your own informational night about Shot@Life.
Very rarely can we actually make a global difference right from our living rooms, but this time, we can. Let’s do it!
Disclosure: I attended a press event with other bloggers and members of the media and was provided a PR gift bag. I have not been compensated for this post and everything is from my heart. I believe in this campaign. All statistics cited have been provided by the Shot@Life media kit. All photos are provided by and copyrighted by Shot@Life .