The Ebola outbreak in West African countries is a great reminder of why we need to invest in prevention before we have an epidemic.
As we commemorate World Polio Day today it is important to note how close we are to eliminating many of the World’s most deadly and debilitating diseases with vaccines that cost just a few dollars.
Vaccines make a difference. Polio, a disease that once claimed the lives of millions around the world—and paralyzed nearly 1,000 children a day—has now dropped 99 percent in the number of cases worldwide over the last twenty years thanks to a coordinated global vaccination effort with agencies like WHO, UNICEF, CDC, Rotary International, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Nations.
India, one of the countries where polio remains a serious threat, in January celebrated a significant milestone: two years without any new reported cases of polio. The remaining three countries where polio transmission has never been stopped—Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan-- continue to make tremendous progress in getting us to a polio-free world. For Example Nigeria reported only 6 cases of polio in 2014 compared to 48 cases in 2013. However, the disease has recently reemerged in areas that had been polio free for years. Angola, Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have experienced a recent resurgence in polio transmissions.
I was seven years old when I learned about polio. I was surprised, confused and didn’t understand why my classmate had braces on her legs. I still remember the sadness I saw on this girl eyes when the children were playing outside. Until then I never saw anyone with polio or knew what it was. So with sadness I went home and asked why the little child had braces. I remember learning about children being paralyzed by polio and how many die from the disease. It was scary topic for a 7 years old and from that day I never complained about getting my routine vaccination shots and decided that I will be a doctor or nurse to help others.
Vaccines don’t just prevent illness; they give children like me the chance to grow up healthy, attend school, and become productive members of society.
They are a best-buy in global health, with a low cost and a long-term payoff that extends far beyond the health of an individual child.
Please join me and became a Champion for childhood immunizations by visiting Shot@Life.org, learn about the value of vaccines or make a donation in this linkhttp://www.globalproblems-globalsolutions.org/site/TR?fr_id=1080&pg=entry---Just $5.00 will protect a child from polio and measles for his lifetime—the individual acts add up to make a big difference.