Did you know that 91% of all malaria deaths occur in Africa*? Or, that the mosquito that transmits malaria only bites from dusk until dawn? Until there is a viable, clinically-tested vaccine for malaria bed nets are the only saving grace for children whose immune systems are too weak to fight off the deadly disease.
Our partner, Malaria No More, is determined to end malaria in Africa by 2015. That is only a mere three years away.
Malaria killed 655,000 people in 2010*, most of whom were children under the age of 5. These lives can be saved with simple bed nets and education about their importance. There is good news, though. Since 2000 malaria deaths have fallen 26% globally and 33% in Africa*.
When I was in Kenya with ONE last year we visited a hospital in Kisumu, Kenya where we visited a pediatric clinic. There we witnessed parents who sat lovingly with their children who were lying sick in hospital beds terribly ill from malaria. I am certain that some of those children passed from malaria in the days after our visit, just as I am certain some of them lived.
The main point is that malaria is a preventable disease. Even though there is currently no vaccine yet, insecticide treated bed nets along with educational programs can drastically control the disease.
Did you know 1.7 million children in developing nations will die this year because they don’t have access to life-saving vaccines? How can this be changed, you ask? Lives can be saved by simply administering vaccines to children who are most vulnerable to life-threatening diseases like malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea, and polio. It’s that easy.
I am happy to announce that we have partnered with Shot at Life, a United Nations Foundation campaign that educates, connects and empowers Americans to champion vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries. Read an interview with Peg Willingham, Shot at Life’s Executive Director.
A national call to action for this global cause, the campaign rallies the American public, members of Congress, and civil society partners around the fact that together, we can save a child’s life every 20 seconds by expanding access to vaccines. By encouraging Americans to learn about, advocate for, and donate vaccines, the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign will decrease vaccine-preventable childhood deaths and give children a shot at a healthy life. To learn more, go toShotatLife.org.
In many developing nations children are born with a distinct disadvantage: the risk of dying from pneumonia or diarrhea, the two leading causes of death for children in the third world. If these children are fortunate enough to escape the grip of those two infectious diseases they may come down with malaria or measles, or be crippled by polio.
Young lives teeter between life and death every day in the poorest countries in the world. In fact, 1.7 million children will die this year because they have succumbed to one of the aforementioned diseases. With life-saving vaccines, however, the outcome for hundreds of thousands of poor children in developing nations can be changed. They will live.
The United Nation Foundation’s new program, Shot at Life*, works to combat the problem of children dying senselessly from diseases that can be thwarted through simple vaccines. With a generous donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other partners such as UNICEF and GAVI Alliance, Shot at Life encourages Americans to champion vaccines as an effective, verified, and cost-effective way to save the lives of children in developing countries.
Recently a team from Shot at Life including its Executive Director, Peg Willingham, as well as a team of congressional staffers traveled to Honduras to see the rate of childhood vaccinations and the outcomes from vaccinating 99 percent of its children.
“We selected Honduras because we wanted to show a success story to congressional staffers and the media,” said Willingham. “We wanted to show them here are the people you are helping.”
“Honduras was one of the earliest countries to receive the new vaccines for pneumonia and diarrhea,” said Willingham. Since then GAVI Alliance, the Pan American Health Organization, the Honduras government including health workers, teachers, and the police as well as community volunteers have worked in tandem to ensure the successful inoculation rate of its children. This levels the playing field for children who could die from preventable disease and drastically reduces child mortality.
Willingham also cited Mozambique, one of the poorest countries in the world, because of its willingness and desire to vaccinate its children to help severely reduce measles cases. Even though Mozambique only has one major highway that traverses its country and has recently emerged from a devastating civil war, the Mozambique government had the political will to vaccinate its children. “Over the course of five days 3.6 million children in Mozambique were vaccinated,” recalled Willingham who was in the southeastern African country during their massive vaccination campaign. Such a large undertaking took nine months to plan and its success relied on a top-down model of everyone working together from the government and its partners to the media to health workers, church groups and local volunteers. Due to the widespread and succinct nationwide messaging some mothers walked 15 miles in order to ensure their children were vaccinated.
Shot at Life is currently building a national network of supporters who believe every child deserves the right to life by receiving life-saving vaccines. Since its soft launch in September 2011 over 74,000 people have already joined in support. Shot at Life is now working to engage even more people through social media and mothers’ and parents’ groups around the country to spread the word about their global efforts to keep children alive.
On April 26 during National Immunization Week, Shot at Life will officially launch in Atlanta at the world-renowned Georgia Aquarium. In preparation for their launch Shot at Life has brought in a team of digital moms to their Washington, DC offices today for a summit to gear up for a nationwide roll-out of volunteers to spread the word about vaccine awareness.
Last week our partner Malaria No More launched their “Dream Big for Africa’ campaign. Anyone who texts “Dream” to 85944 will donate $10 to Malaria No More and be automatically entered to win a trip to Africa with Smash star Katharine McPhee.
Spread the word on Twitter with this tweet:
Text DREAM to 85944 to donate $10 to @MalariaNoMore and be entered to win a trip to Africa with @NBCSmash star @katharinemcphee. #socialgoodmoms
Malaria robs more children of their dreams than any other disease in Africa, killing a child every minute. But now, Smash star Katharine McPhee shares a dream with Malaria No More and that’s to end malaria deaths in Africa. She’s joined the fight by hosting the “Dream Big for Africa” campaign to give one of her fans the chance to accompany her on a trip to Africa! While there, you and Katharine will help deliver malaria prevention tools.
From now until February 16th, when you text the word “DREAM” to 85944, you’ll donate $10 to Malaria No More and begin your entry for a chance to travel to Africa with Katharine this spring*. Within 24 hours of donating, you’ll receive a follow up text message with a special link to an online form where you’ll enter your contact information and one sentence on your DREAM for Africa. On February 24th, 10 finalists will be notified and asked to submit a 300-word blog post and a simple 30 second video on why you’re the best person for the trip. The best blog post and video will be named the winner on February 26th.
Don’t wait to participate! You only have until February 16th to text. Details about the “Dream Big for Africa” campaign are here: www.MalariaNoMore.org/Dream
*A one-time donation of $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your pre-paid balance. Message and Data Rates May Apply. Text STOP to 85944 to stop; Text HELP to 85944 for help.
I am excited to announce that Mom Bloggers for Social Good has officially partnered with Malaria No More. Malaria No More is determined to help the world reach the global goal of near zero malaria deaths by 2015. Malaria No More leverages high-impact communications to engage the world, global advocacy to rally leadership and strategic investments to accelerate progress.