News / Africa

Saving Lives, Saving Money With Childhood Vaccines

A child receives a vaccination on the opening day of a meningitis vaccination campaign in Niger, 04 Apr. 2010
A child receives a vaccination on the opening day of a meningitis vaccination campaign in Niger, 04 Apr. 2010

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Joe DeCapua

Efforts are underway to speed vaccine development and delivery in 72 countries over the next 10 years. New studies say that would save the lives of more than six million children and save billions of dollars. But advocates say poor countries may not be able to pay for the expanded immunization on their own. As a result, health related groups are calling for greater international investment.

The World Health Organization estimates nearly two and a half million children die every year because they have not been vaccinated against preventable diseases.

Two new studies published in the June issue of the journal Health Affairs say that doesn’t have to happen. They report on the effects of vaccinating 90 percent of children in more than 70 countries. The vaccines would target pneumococcal pneumonia, diphtheria, pertussis or whooping cough, tetanus, measles, rotavirus, malaria and Haemophilus influenza type B, also known as Hib disease, which is a brain infection.

Dr. Orin Levine
Dr. Orin Levine

“Every day, millions of children die needlessly, and for relatively small amounts of money we can save those lives. If you consider that saving six million lives over a decade is like saving the population of Ireland just with vaccinations, it’s pretty obvious to see that this is an incredible opportunity,” said Dr. Orin Levine, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Good return on investment

“We’re estimating that over the next 10 years, while saving six million children’s lives, we can also generate savings or economic value of between150 and 230 billion dollars,” he said.

For example, healthy children mean families are not burdened with medical costs. And that can keep them out of poverty.

While two new studies promote the benefits of childhood immunization, a third study, by the GAVI Alliance and Results for Development Institute, says, “Poor countries will be hard pressed to pay for expanded vaccine delivery without substantial outside support.”

“What we have,” said Levine, “is a shortfall over the next several years of about $4 billion. And next week in London, international governments will be sitting together to make pledges to help fill that funding shortfall. When people hear $4 billion they think that this is a huge number and in many ways it is. But realize that essentially for the price of a latte coffee you can buy a dose of a life saving vaccine. This is really within the reach of everyday citizens and their governments.”

Researchers say low-income countries could pay a “modest share” of the cost, about 20 cents per dose.

Making diseases disappear

Dr. Levine says he believes it’s possible to eliminate many childhood diseases in developing countries.

“I say this from personal experience. We’ve seen it here in the United States. If you talk to pediatricians who are about 45 or older, they will tell you we used to see children with bacterial meningitis due to Hib and pneumococcus all the time. And now that we’ve been using these vaccines in this country we basically never see them,” he said.

In recent days there has been encouraging news about vaccine prices. Vaccine makers announced they are cutting the price by as much as 60 percent in some cases.

Levine says it’s some of the best news regarding vaccines in the last 10 years.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid