This week of April 24th through April 30th as we recognize World Immunization Week, the world is entering an exciting new phase. The upcoming expansion of vaccine programs will build on the momentum gained to this point against the most lethal killers of children in the world. Vaccine preventable diseases. According to GAVI Alliance 440 million children have been vaccinated since the year 2,000, saving around six million lives.
We now have a “historical opportunity to go even further and secure a healthy future for a generation of vaccinated children in developing countries, a generation that hold the keys to their countries’ futures.”- Dagfinn Høybråten, Chair of the GAVI Alliance
Each year this week serves to remind communities of the importance of vaccines and to spread the word that #VaccinesWork. Immunization has proven to be one of the best returns on investments in world health, yet one in five children will still die before their fifth birthday due to a vaccine preventable disease. According to GAVI Alliance there are still over 22 million kids who have little or no access to the vaccines that could save their lives. For those of us with access to vaccines the World Health Organization is promoting the campaign tag line to “Immunize for a healthy future – Know. Check. Protect.” By making sure that you and your family are up to date on all vaccines, everyone is given the best chance for a healthy future.
Vaccine cards have been around for a long time to help families stay on track. These days new methods and technologies are being put into play like the new mobile phone app by the WHO, or the bracelet reminders for the babies to wear in South America being developed by Alma Sana. No matter what the method used, keeping track of immunization schedules is an important part of ensuring good health.
To highlight the importance of global vaccines the GAVI Alliance has shared a photo gallery of vaccine cards from around the world, so we decided to share some of our World Moms Vaccine Cards here for you too. We would love to see yours! If there is one thing we are here at World Moms Blog, it’s well vaccinated! Share your vaccine card with us by Tweeting to #VaccinesWork #RUuptodate #WorldVaxCards, and check out the story of immunisation cards around the world hosted on the BBC.
Do you have a vaccination card for you or your children? If you’d like to share it just tweet or post it to #VaccinesWork #RUuptodate #WorldVaxCards
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Elizabeth Atalay of Documama.org.
This post is a continuation of the interview with Dr. V.R. Purushotham that ran on Tuesday, April 23rd.
In an effort to better understand health care services in India and help expand public awareness, World Moms Blog Senior Editor, Purnima, has interviewed several physicians. The first in this series is an interview with Dr. V. R. Purushotham, a pediatrician in Bangalore, India, and is being run during World Immunization Week. He is consulting in St.John’s Medical College, Bangalore.
Purnima Ramakrishnan: What are some of the most pressing health concerns for children where you work?
Dr. V.R. Purushotham: The primary concerns are anemia, malnutrition and infections as these are major causes of poor growth and mortality in the community.
PR: What is the socioeconomic level of the area you work in? Are the families of the children rich, poor, middle class, etc.?
Dr. P: Being a referral hospital we see children from a varied strata but a majority are from a weaker socioeconomic level.
PR: What is your opinion on the alleged link between vaccines and autism, and how do you answer parents who come to you with those concerns?
Dr. P: There have been enough scientific studies to confirm that MMR vaccine is not associated with autism. The timing of the vaccine was a major reason as to why it was implicated. Previous scientific papers stating their association have been refuted. My view is that the damage caused by measles, mumps and rubella is far more than an unlikely association which is unproven.
PR: What is the biggest obstacle in India for all children to receive routine vaccinations? – Government policy? Financial resources? Supply of vaccines? Access to healthcare facilities? Trained practitioners? Geographical barriers/lack of infrastructure to reach rural areas? Cultural beliefs about vaccines?
Dr. P: The obstacles are multifactorial, but financial constraints and infrastructure would be the major ones. Community education initiatives have helped in this regard too and we are gradually seeing a positive change towards improved healthcare.
PR: And what could help overcome those obstacles the most? Political influence? Foreign resources? Medical staff training? Communication/Awareness campaign?
Dr. P: Better awareness and door to door coverage services would help us overcome these barriers .
PR: As far as you have followed World Moms Blog, do you think WMB has been making an impact in improving the vaccination and immunisation awareness in India? Or do you think blogs and internet do not reach those socio economic echelons where people do not adhere to vaccinations? And if so, how do you think WMB can help bridge the gap?
Dr. P: Any forum which discusses and promotes health from the grassroots in a positive manner is playing a constructive part in the society and WMB is one of them. Having said that, it is the personal and community based initiatives which tend to have a larger impact. I concur that the population with access to blogs would be well aware of the basic requirements of vaccination .
The fact is that you are and will make a difference to the people who do read WMB and I would urge you to keep up the good work.
This post is the first in a series of interactions with physicians and health care workers in India by Purnima Ramakrishnan on behalf of the World Moms Blog.
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by The Alchemist, our Indian mother writing from Chennai, India. Her contributions to the World Moms Blog can be found here. She also rambles at The Alchemist’s Blog.
The photograph in this post is credited to Jennifer Burden and was taken at a UNICEF Family Health Day in Kampala, Uganda, where children were being immunized in October 2012.
Have you ever been to the movies and seen a trailer for a film that you previously had no interest in seeing and then suddenly thought to yourself “That is a film I CANNOT MISS”?
That was the idea behind GAVI’s most recent production. It’s a three-minute film by a talented young American film maker called Ryan Youngblood that I stumbled across in Kigali one day and I think he and producer Doune Porter more than fulfilled their brief.
On April 26, during WHO’s first-ever World Immunization Week, Ghana will introduce not just one but two new vaccines into its immunisation programme. (more…)