News / Health

Global Organizations Make Push for Vaccinations

Pneumonia and diarrheal disease are the two leading killers of children in the developing world, killing more children each year than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.  This week, people around the world are taking action to put an end to deaths from these preventable and treatable diseases in children and adults.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) is partnering with 170 of its 193 member countries to vaccinate people around the world and to spread awareness about the importance of vaccinations.

Spokesman for the World Health Organization’s Americas division (Pan American Health Organization) Dan Epstein says hundreds of thousands of people have already been vaccinated since events kicked off on Saturday.


"A main obstacle is when people don’t know their kids should be vaccinated or don't know that, for example, adults should be revaccinated against influenza.  So awareness is one of the biggest obstacles we face," he said.

The Pan American Health Organization has a goal of vaccinating 41 million people in the Americas from April 23 to April 30.  Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean region also are participating.  And Africa and the Western Pacific region are both holding their first-ever immunization week.

Epstein says the Americas lead the world in vaccinations, having been the first to eliminate smallpox in 1971 and polio in 1991.  But he says there are still many hard-to-reach places, along borders and in rural areas, where the preventable diseases are still widespread.

Dr. Keith Van Zandt and his wife, Dede, personally understand the risk of not vaccinating young children.  They adopted their daughter, Annie, from Romania 16 years ago.  They did not even get Annie home to the United States before they discovered she had contracted Hepatitis B from her birth mother.  

Today, Dr. Van Zandt says his 18-year-old daughter still fights the virus that causes inflammation of the liver. "Personally, it still sickens me to know the disease my daughter has was completely preventable by a simple vaccine, had that been available to Annie and her mother," he said.

That is why the Van Zandts are speaking out as advocates of the nonpartisan, advocacy group, ONE, that has launched an awareness campaign this week aimed at saving the lives of 4 million children in five years through pneumonia and diarrhea vaccinations.

Their initiative is part of a global push ahead of a June pledging conference for world leaders to commit funding for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization’s effort to vaccinate 243 million children.

Part of their initiative includes getting a half-million people to sign a petition to U.S. President Barack Obama asking him to fund childhood vaccinations. ONE Communications Director Ginny Wolfe says so little money is needed that it could be spared even in tough economic times. "In fact, it is such a small percentage that it’s just a little percent of what is less than 1 percent of the budget that has financed programs to save millions of lives all over the world in the last decade," she said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is partnering with ONE to spread awareness about the "cost-effectiveness" of vaccinations. Dr. Robert Block, head of the academy, says more than 2 million children die from pneumonia and diarrhea each year, but he says vaccinations can stop this. "Well, I think the effectiveness is great. What we are going to try and do is provide vaccines at a reasonable cost to countries in the developing world so that we can create access for parents to get their children immunized against what would otherwise be deadly sometimes diseases," he said.

WHO estimates that vaccines have helped prevent more than 2.5 million deaths each year that would occur without vaccinations.

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll 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.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs