This month the UN Foundation has teamed up with the popular social good app, Charity Miles, to raise money for great causes. The iPhone/Android app can be easily downloaded to your smartphone and every time you exercise – whether it’s running, biking, or walking – you donate money to a deserving charity.
Through the UN Foundation’s #VDay10k campaign your miles can be donated to Shot@Life to provide lifesaving vaccines for children in need, Nothing But Nets that provides nets to fight against malaria, and Girl Up that provides education for girls in developing countries – all worthy UN Foundation campaigns.
Charity Miles will donate 25 cents for every mile you walk or run, and 10 cents for every mile you bike. Each time you finish your exercise you can share how far you’ve gone and also choose the charity where you would like your donation to go such as in the tweet below.
After overcoming a rough start to her journey in Africa Pavlika is now sharing poignant stories and social media updates as she visits clinics and sees the power of vaccinations for children in an area of the world where vaccines mean the difference between life and death for a child. Pneumonia and diarrhea are two of the leading causes of death for children under the age of five in developing countries.
“I will be traveling with a videographer and photographer and it will be our job to collect stories and information to be shared through social media channels and to share at an event in the fall,” Pavlika recently wrote on her blog.
In listening to a talk last week in Atlanta given by Dr. Jacob Kumaresan, the Executive Director, WHO Office at the United Nations in New York, I learned a fascinating statistic about vaccine effectiveness.
In 1980 before the mass roll-out of vaccines there was one child death per second from deadly, yet preventable diseases like pneumonia, rotavirus, and measles. By 2000 the death rate was one death per minute. By 2010 the death rate was one death every four minutes. That shows progress, but the number of child deaths is still too high. By 2015 the United Nations has called for a reduction of child deaths by 2/3. Recent data by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund shows that MDG #4 (Child health) likely will not be reached, but that does not mean progress should slow.
One of the highest priorities in the global health community is to vaccinate children. In fact, it is one of the best global health buys to keep children alive.
“Immunizations have the power to save lives and transform lives,” said Kumaresan. “We can give the opportunity for a child to be healthy and grow without diseases.”
According to Kumaresan in 2010 109 million children were vaccinated with the DPT vaccine that fights against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus. 19.3 million children did not receive the vaccines and 70% of those children live in 10 developing countries.
The ultimate goal of global health agencies is to increase the vaccination rate to 90% worldwide in order eradicate these preventable diseases. In the developing world, however, there are challenges intrinsic to immunizing children. Many people live in informal settlements (slums) and in war-torn areas making vaccinations in this areas difficult.
Since 2010 the GAVI Alliance has supported the immunization of 3.6 million children with the pneumococcal vaccine. Pneumonia is the leading cause of death for children under the age of five. GAVI’s mission is to save children’s lives in poor countries through immunization.
The Measles & Rubella Initiative
Five key partners make up the Measles Rubella Initiative including the American Red Cross, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United Nations Children’s Fund, United Nations Foundation and World Health Organization. These partners have set a strategic plan to reduce measles and rubella to zero by 2020 in at least five WHO regions. According to WHO the plan will be implemented through:
high vaccination coverage;
monitoring spread of disease using laboratory-backed surveillance;
outbreak preparedness and response and measles case management;
communication and community engagement; and
research and development.
The goal is within reach. In fact sub-Saharan Africa made saw a significant 85% drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2010 due to vaccinations.
“It’s a moral imperative in today’s world,” said Kumeresan. “Every child should be reached. We need to make vaccines accessible and affordable to the people who need it.”
As the mom of two daughters, a pre-teen and teenager, I am thrilled to partner with Girl Up, an innovative campaign, of the United Nations Foundation, to address the needs of adolescent girls in developing countries.
This “for girls, by girls” campaign mobilizes girls in the U.S. to raise awareness and funds for programs of the United Nations that help some of the world’s hardest-to-reach adolescent girls. Through Girl Up’s support, girls will have the opportunity to become educated, healthy, safe, included and counted in their communities and positioned to be the next generation of leaders.
Be sure to welcome them to the Mom Bloggers for Social Good community!
Please click here to like Girl Up on Facebook and here to follow Girl Up on Twitter.
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.