Every child deserves a shot at… Fill in the blank. Or hundreds of blanks. Because every child deserves a shot at living long enough to do so many things. Things that I personally, take for granted. I never questioned that my children would have the opportunity to take their first steps, say their first word, find their first friend, tell their first joke…and yes, discover their first talent. There are too many milestones to list.
But in some parts of the world children don’t live long enough to do any of those things simply because their families do not have access to vaccines.
Where I come from, mothers have heated debates about whether we should have to vaccinate our children or not. We read read media coverage on the subject and discuss our views at the neighborhood playground or cocktail parties. In other countries, mothers who are desperate to have their children vaccinated watch babies die from vaccine-preventable diseases. As a woman who has been given the gift of choice, I would like to help extend that luxury to others.
So I’m joining the chorus of voices supporting the Shot@Life campaign.
On Friday, I attended an event hosted by Wired Momma and Dolci Gelati on behalf of the UN Foundation and the Shot@Life Campaign. We were treated to some of the best gelato I’ve ever had (and I’ve been to Italy twice) and then participated in a a discussion about the need for accessible vaccines in developing countries.
We heard about a woman in Mozambique who walked 15 miles with her baby on her back to reach life saving vaccines. She had already lost two babies to measles. TWO. That is completely unimaginable in my world.
We make jokes about our “first world problems” but this is the not so funny flip side. The harsh reality is that while I complain about my three healthy children taking five hours to put on their shoes so I can drive them to the grocery store, another mother walks 15 miles to try to save the life of her her own surviving third child.
Here are some facts that you can find on the Shot@Life site:
- “This year, 1.7 million children will die from diseases that have all but disappeared in the U.S. simply because one in five children around the world do not have access to the life-saving immunizations needed to survive.
- Millions of children are disabled or killed every decade by preventable diseases like pneumonia, diarrhea, measles and polio. Pneumonia and diarrhea are the two biggest killers of children under five, and account for more than one-third of childhood deaths worldwide.
- Seventy-five percent of unvaccinated children live in just 10 countries. For children in India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, China, Uganda, Chad and Kenya, access to vaccines mean the difference between life and death, a healthy life or a lifetime of struggle.
- With so many children around the world unvaccinated, outbreaks of diseases such as measles can occur. Expanding access to vaccines strengthens our ability to fight disease globally and keep our families healthy here at home.”
Today kicks off WHO’s World Immunization Week. In celebration, the Shot@Life campaign is on a mission to vaccinate 1,000 children by Mother’s Day 2012. For just $20, a child can be protected for life from the four deadly diseases listed above.
Everyone who attended this event was asked to think about milestones that all children should have the opportunity to reach. The video above shows my response. What is yours?
Visit Shot@Life’s DONATE page to find out more about how you can help them save 1,000 children by Mothers Day 2012.
Thank you to event host, Monica Sakala (Wired Momma) for inviting me to this inspiring event!
(photo credit: Yang Jiang Photography)
And thank you to Dolci Gelati owners, Anastasia Dellaccio and her talented husband, Chef Gianluigi for co-hosting the event and treating us to their world class gelato!
(photo credit: Tech Savvy Mama)
*All images not credited were lifted directly from the Shot@Life website.