“As long as children die… mothers will grieve.”
Twenty-five years ago, as a naive but serious young girl, I left the comforts of Australia for the unknowns of South Africa as a Rotary Exchange Student. Rotary International had just launched a commitment support those eradicating polio in the year prior to my adventure. The world was drawing close to being rid of this disease forever.
In that 25 years, incredible progress has been made as well as heartbreaking backward slides. It can be tempting to shrug our shoulders and say, “Eh, Africa. What can you do?” But we are seeing evidence and results of dramatic change and improvement. In true partnerships with nations, local citizens and on the ground agencies, there are solutions. They are happening in real time.
In 2011, we are even closer to the complete eradication of polio. It is 99% gone! Only 1,500 cases of polio were reported in the last year world-wide. I have loved ones affected by this disease. I am old enough to remember what it looks like and witness its life long aftermath. I want polio done! And on its heels many other easily preventable diseases like measles, which still kills children in vast numbers. Yes, there is much we have forgotten.
A child shouldn’t have to die every 20 seconds from a vaccine preventable disease like diarrhea, or pneumonia, or measles in the 21st century.
At the UN Foundation/Mashable/9nd St Y Social Good Summit, I was privileged to have a conversation with talented journalist David Muir of ABC News and dedicated global health champion, Dr Geeta Rao Gupta, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF. We brought together Muir’s world of front line reporting, Dr Rao Gupta’s world of policy implementation and advocacy, and my world of online story telling and social media sharing. Our message was anchored in a desire to spread awareness and invite action on vaccinations for children throughout the world.
Shot@Life – www.shotatlife.org – is a movement to protect children world-wide by providing life-saving vaccines where they are most needed.
Watch the campaign message and our conversation below. Go to www.shotatlife.org and sign up to join the efforts to reach the hard to reach. Share the campaign with your friends and family. Every mother deserves the chance to raise her children. And every child deserves a shot at life.
What are some of the “firsts” the children in your life have experienced? What milestones have brought you joy? Share your special firsts and your wishes for other children below.
To view our conversation at the Social Good Summit:
Disclosure: I have provided both paid and unpaid consulting services to the UN Foundation and am proud of their work and my association with them. Photo Credits: Used with permission - A Shot at Big Sister, Stuart Ramson/UN Foundation, Shot at Life Panel Social Good Summit, Gary He/UN Foundation