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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.