By Ellina Kushnir, RI Programs staff
One out of every five children across the world does not receive a full course of the most basic vaccines, let alone more recently developed ones. The World Health Organization estimates 1.5 million children die every year from vaccine-preventable diseases. Help strengthen health systems and healthy immunization services around the world during World Immunization Week, 24 – 30 April. There are many ways we are helping to close the immunization gap:
- The Rotary Club of Omole-Golden, Nigeria, worked with partners to host National Immunization Days 14 -17 March. Oral polio vaccine drops were administered to 189,266 children under the age of five.
- The Rotary Club of Lahore, India, established a permanent polio immunization center where families can receive vaccinations and other medical services at an affordable price.
- The Rotary Club of Lincoln South, USA, organized a Rotary Day event to promote healthy living, educate local residents about Rotary’s polio eradication efforts, and encourage parents to keep their children healthy with immunizations.
- On 24 October, World Polio Day, the Rotary club of Benin worked with the Edo State Government and fellow clubs in Zone 15 to immunize children against polio. Hundreds of people came out to assist with the effort.
Join the effort:
- Browse Rotary Showcase to learn about other Rotary immunization initiatives.
- Connect with a health-focused Rotarian Action Group to support Rotarian-led efforts:
- Rotarians for Healthy Families and & Aids Prevention Rotarian Action Group will be organizing its annual family health day events in South Africa, Nigeria, Uganda, and India in late 2015 (exact dates are forthcoming).
- The Health Education and Wellness Rotarian Action Group works with Rotary clubs and districts to build sustainable local health fairs and health education programs.
- The Rotarian Action Group for Population & Development leads maternal and child health programs to support healthy communities around the world.
- Volunteer at National Immunization Days to help reach more vulnerable children at risk of contracting preventable diseases.
- Organize health fairs to educate communities about available services and their short and long term benefits.
- Partner with reputable health agencies and organizations to sponsor the provision of immunization in communities where they are not easily accessible or affordable.
- Watch Invisible Threat (free with Vimeo account), a documentary on the science of vaccination and the risks facing communities that are under-vaccinated.
- Advocate for governments to assume responsibility for providing needed services to address the health of their communities.
- Find project support by posting information on your club’s efforts to Rotary Ideas.
If countries improved routine immunization coverage by an additional two percent per year, approximately 300,000 additional deaths due to vaccine-preventable diseases would be averted. Refer to the Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunization’s toolkit for more resources on how to plan a club immunization campaign or activity.
- The Vindication of Vaccination, The Rotarian (April 2015)