News

    Immunization Week Highlights Efforts to Save Lives Worldwide

    Vidushi Sinha

    It is estimated that a child dies of a vaccine-preventable disease every 20 seconds. To counter this grim trend, the World Health Organization and its public and private partners are raising awareness of the critical importance of vaccines, and intensifying global vaccination campaigns during World Immunization Week from April 21- 28.

    Haiti, Nigeria, Ghana -- 180 countries in all -- stepped up their immunization drives against deadly childhood infections to mark World Immunization Week.

    The GAVI Alliance -- a Geneva based public-private partnership aimed at improving health in poor countries -- rolled out new vaccination campaigns in many countries against killer childhood infections such as diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps and rubella.

    Spokesman Jonathan Stern says the GAVI Alliance has helped to vaccinate 326 million children around the world since 2000, a campaign that has saved about five and a half million lives.

    “Our goal for 2015 is to immunize an additional quarter billion people and this would save nearly another 4 million lives. And so for GAVI, the real challenge is fulfilling that promise -- that is, to immunize a quarter billion people,” Stern said.

    Experts say the current immunization campaign provides a unique opportunity to highlight the powerful impact vaccines can have in reducing mortality and illness.

    “The leading killers of children in the world now are diarrheal disease caused by rotavirus infection or respiratory diseases caused by pneumococcal pneumonia.  So for both those killer diseases, we have safe and affordable vaccine we need to greatly expand their use,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute. He says vaccines have made it possible to eradicate  smallpox and other diseases, but their primary value is that they provide an extremely cost-effective way to prevent and control fatal or disabling diseases such as polio or measles.

    “When we are talking about saving lives and reducing morbidity and mortality from infectious and neglected diseases our first goal is generally not eradication. That’s a nice target but one which is still decades away,” he said.

    Researchers are hopeful an effective malaria vaccine will be ready soon, and in the next few years, a vaccine against tuberculosis. Hotez is confident these new vaccines -- along with new combination drugs and aggressive vector control strategies -- will help to reduce the terrible human costs of preventable and treatable diseases.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Mike
    April 27, 2012 7:45 AM
    This is the kind of science we should be focusing on. Real results for real people. It is sad that regional/cultural ignorance prevents so many people from being treated. Of course, saving millions of lives a year begs the question "What do we do with these 'extra' people?" Education, modern liberal democracy, and growing economies are absolutely necessary for everyone to reach their potential. Otherwise, what's the point?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora