This week kicks off yet another installment of our holidays-without-greeting-cards series: World Immunization Week.
I know what you’re thinking — didn’t we just finish celebrating World Water Day, World TB Day and International Women’s Day? And the answer of course is yes (the mysterious forces that schedule development days must have a special affinity for March). But we hope you’ve had a chance to catch a breath, because we promise that this week really matters, too.
Though we take vaccines for granted in the US and across Europe (perhaps even too much for granted), millions of parents across the developing world are unable to access vaccines for their children, and that has devastating consequences.
More than 7.6 million children died before the age of 5 last year, because of largely preventable and treatable causes. But we believe that every child deserves a 5th birthday. One key way to prevent some of these deaths is through simple, cost-effective vaccines to fight diseases like pneumonia, diarrhea, measles and polio.
So, let us be your party planners — here are five ways you can help celebrate World Immunization Week:
1. Follow along with ONE as we take a team of bloggers and members to Ghana this week. They’re there to see Ghana become the first country to roll out two new vaccines to fight pneumonia and diarrhea. This rollout is happening in part because YOU took action in our GAVI campaign last year. Donors took notice and stepped up their funding in a major way, and GAVI now feels confident that it can immunize 250 million children by 2015, ultimately saving nearly 4 million lives. Follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #ONEMoms.
2. Check out our friends Shot@Life, who are formally launching their new vaccines campaign in Georgia on Friday. You can help them by sharing their video here:
3. Stay tuned to the ONE blog, where we’ll feature posts from some of our partners, detailing their work on vaccines across the spectrum from development to delivery.
4. If you feel inspired (and we hope you will), please share the posts with your networks, and if you’re on Twitter, use the hashtag #vaccineswork.
5. Upload a photo of yourself at age 5 to USAID’s website and help them share the message that every child deserves a 5th birthday. Over the last 50 years, child mortality has been reduced by 70 percent, largely due to high-impact tools and interventions for child survival, notably new vaccines and more community health workers.
PS: As if World Immunization Week wasn’t enough to get you going, we’ll also be celebrating World Malaria Day on Thursday the 25th (sorry, we’re not in charge of the calendar!). Our bloggers on the ground will provide coverage on Ghanaian malaria programs, and we’ll share some cool stuff ONE and our partners are doing on malaria.