I had measles and chicken pox. Escaped the mumps. Phew. My three brothers all came down with chicken pox at a rare family vacation in New Zealand’s famous hot springs (we lived there at the time). Who knows who else they gave them to, as they’d been in hot pools all week long! Sure enough I got them a week later. It was sort of a party really. And itchy, scratchy, annoying but family pox party.
And I have to confess that over the years with more vaccines that I have wondered if it was really necessary to vaccinate for those less dramatic diseases. I mean, whooping cough, polio, diptheria, of course! No brainer. But the “little ones”?
Well here’s what I learned from the World Health Organization (WHO), just about measles alone:
- Measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available.
- In 2008, there were 164 000 measles deaths globally – nearly 450 deaths every day or 18 deaths every hour.
- More than 95% of measles deaths occur in low-income countries with weak health infrastructures.
- Measles vaccination resulted in a 78% drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2008 worldwide.
- In 2010, about 85% of the world’s children received one dose of measles vaccine by their first birthday through routine health services – up from 72% in 2000.
Sobering, yes? And I remembered. I remembered stories from my mother when both I and one of my brothers had the measles. I was 1 and he was a new born. We were both terribly ill, and hospitalized. My father was out to sea (Royal Australian Navy) and the services weren’t as kind to families as they are now. He would only be allowed back to shore if one of us died. It was that serious. That scary. Obviously we healed and had no lasting effects. But imagine my mother.
Imagine mothers everywhere losing their little ones to these ridiculously easily preventable illnesses.
Back to that WHO data. Whilst dramatic, it’s also very encouraging. We are on the right track my friends! All this agitation, activism and passionate global caring is making an impact.
Add your voice, share this campaign with your friends and loved ones! Ask them to “like” the Million Moms Challenge on Facebook.
Did you come down with any of the typical childhood diseases? What do you remember about them? Aren’t you glad your kids get to avoid the risk?