The United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life Campaign Calls on Americans to Champion Vaccines this World Pneumonia Day
Pneumonia remains the single largest infectious cause of death for children worldwide
PR Newswire, Washington, DC. – November 12, 2015
The United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign marks World Pneumonia Day, November 12, by asking Americans to raise awareness, funds and advocate to members of Congress to support global immunization programs. Pneumonia kills nearly a million children under the age of five each year and almost half of those deaths are vaccine-preventable.
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“Around the world one in five children lack access to the vaccines they need,” said Devi Thomas, Director, UN Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign. “By raising awareness, funding and asking members of Congress to support global immunization programs we can ensure that every child, no matter where they live, is given a shot at a healthy life.”
In a series of television and radio interviews Shot@Life volunteer, mother and blogger, Elizabeth Atalay and Dr. Namala Mkopi, pediatrician and child health specialist from Tanzania, answered questions about why pneumonia is so life-threatening for children in developing countries and what Americans can do to support global efforts to combat this deadly disease.
While most healthy adults can fight an infection with their natural defenses, young children are still developing their immunity and those living in developing countries often live with systems weakened by malnutrition or undernourishment. The global introduction of the pneumococcal vaccine marks an historic milestone in global health, as these new vaccines have been made accessible in record time to children in the world’s poorest countries. Dr. Mkopi participated in the pneumococcal vaccine rollout in Tanzania in 2013 and has witnessed the difference the vaccine has made for the children of Tanzania.
“Before the pneumococcal vaccine we would have all the beds in our ward full with sometimes two, three children to a bed. We would take oxygen from one child to give to another who was sicker,” said Dr. Mkopi. “When I left the hospital last week to come here to the U.S. we had only one child in the ward. Only one child! And the children who we see now are not as severe as before the vaccine.”
Shot@Life supports the work of the UN and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, who has set forth aggressive goals to accelerate the procurement and delivery of pneumococcal vaccines to the world’s poorest countries. By contacting Congress Americans can ensure that U.S. funding for global vaccines remain strong.
“By advocating to our members of Congress and raising awareness for this issue we can affect real change,” said Atalay. “We are all citizens of the world and we need everyone’s help to raise awareness for this number one killer. There is so much more we can do.”
To learn more about advocating and fundraising for global vaccines visit www.shotatlife.org. To learn more about World Pneumonia Day, the pneumococcal vaccine and other pneumonia interventions visit www.worldpneumoniaday.org.
Shot@Life, a campaign of the United Nations Foundation, educates, connects and empowers Americans to help protect children in developing countries from vaccine-preventable diseases. By joining this movement, you can help save a child’s life every 20 seconds by learning about, advocating for and donating vaccines to children who need them most. Go to ShotAtLife.org to learn more.
About the United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation, a public charity, was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. The UN Foundation builds and implements public/private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and works to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach. Through campaigns and partnerships, the organization connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The campaigns reduce child mortality, empower women and girls, create a new energy future, secure peace and human rights, and promote technology innovation to improve health outcomes. These solutions are helping the UN advance the eight global targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). For more information, visit www.unfoundation.org.