The Importance of Vaccinations
It is essential that children are
protected from deadly childhood illnesses in their first years of life.
Many of the
world's most deadly diseases and infections are preventable. Illnesses that
used to claim the lives of millions, such as polio, have been virtually
eradicated in developed countries thanks to advances in modern medicine.
However, for families living in poverty, potentially lifesaving
vaccinations are often out of reach. In addition, the costs of even the
most basic vaccines have risen during the past decade, making it
challenging for child-focused aid organizations like ChildFund to provide
children in need with the medicines that could save their
An Urgent Need
Although largely eliminated in
developed countries, polio remains resilient in developing countries. Children
are at particular risk from polio, and if they develop this disease, the
results are sometimes fatal or permanently disabling. In Somalia, available
supplies of polio vaccines have become so scarce that the country now has
the smallest reserves of medicine and the
largest concentration of confirmed polio cases in the world.
From an Isolated Problem
Although the number of cases of polio in
African countries is high, these nations are not the only places where this
disease is a serious concern. In Indonesia, polio was eradicated in the
mid-1990s, but in May 2005, the country began to experience a resurgence of
the disease. The Philippines is another country where polio threatens the
lives of vulnerable children living in the nation's poorest communities.
Working together with UNICEF, we
supported the immunization of more than 24 million children against polio
across Indonesia, but the threat of this disease looms over many other
developing nations where resources and support are limited.
ChildFund works with local partners and international
organizations like UNICEF to help provide life-saving vaccinations to
families living in the world's poorest countries, but without the support of
our donors, this has proven challenging in recent years due to escalating
costs of vaccines.
According to Doctors Without Borders, in 2011
estimated 22 million children went without even the most basic
vaccinations against preventable diseases. In addition, it is often
children who are the most vulnerable who go without these life-saving
medications, such as refugees, families living in areas where conflicts are
prevalent and those in the poorest countries in the world.
a package of medicines to inoculate people against six diseases cost $1.37
per package. This figure rose to more than $38 in 2011, although the range
of diseases covered also increased from six to 11. The two most recently
developed vaccines, which prevent rotavirus and pneumococcal conjugate,
account for more than 70 percent of these costs.
costs and greater need for these drugs, we have much work to do. Please
consider sponsoring a child or by making a monthly donation to Children's
Greatest Needs today and help ChildFund save the lives of children at
risk of preventable diseases.