GAVI’s Berkley resolved to vaccinate all kids against preventable diseases
Seth Berkley recalls the work that preceded his appointment as head of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, and his goal of vaccinating every child in need against every preventable disease. “It’s only a matter of political will, a little bit of money and some systems to do it,” says Berkley, who adds that while he is pragmatic, his determination is “almost like a religious belief.”
Photographer helping to give kids Shot@Life
Photographer Anne Geddes, whose work has focused on newborns for the past three decades, writes about her role as global advocate for the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign, which aims to save the lives of children under five from preventable diseases. “The underlying message through my work is the absolute promise of every newborn to reach their full potential,” she says. “[E]ach baby contains a new and unbroken spirit.”
A million poor children are dying due to sanitation denial
Sanitation is “the last big taboo” in developing countries, where about 1.1 billion people still defecate in the open because they do not have toilets, said Frank Rijsberman, director of water, sanitation and hygiene for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “As a result more than one million kids die every year,” he said at a conference in Rome. “Diarrhea is the second largest cause of death after respiratory infections in young children.”
Ghana launches landmark vaccination campaign
Authorities in Ghana this week will begin vaccinating babies against rotavirus and pneumococcal disease — causes of two of the world’s biggest killers of children, severe diarrhea and pneumonia — after the GAVI Alliance struck a deal with drug companies to provide mass quantities of the vaccines at lower prices. No other African country has introduced the vaccines simultaneously.
Educating Indian girls out of early marriage
“100% genuine girls. Young. Innocent. And available,” begins the introductory message to the website of The Girl Store, a unique campaign to prevent girls in India from being being sold into marriage or sex slavery by purchasing supplies for school. Donors can buy items uniforms for $27 apiece, as well as items such as workbooks, backpacks and pencil sets.
Ban: Women, child health is critical
India is spending billions of dollars per year to try to protect and improve the health of its women and children, offering a model to other countries, writes Ban Ki-moon, United Nations secretary-general. “The solutions are in our hands. Together, we can ensure that infants reach a healthy birth weight; that pregnant women receive the right clinical care at the right time; that sick baby girls receive the same quality of care and attention as sick boys. We can prevent malaria and tuberculosis and help free a new generation from HIV. Our collective efforts must also promote women’s equality and empowerment,” he writes.
Girls school in Afghan mountains defies Taliban
An effort by two literate brothers to quietly teach math, reading and writing to female relatives in the mountain village of Spina, Afghanistan, has evolved into an underground school serving dozens of girls in defiance of a Taliban edict. The school is part of a shadow education system in a country where 2 million girls don’t attend school, and those that do can face threats.
Trying to keep malnourished children alive in Chad
About 1 million children will suffer in 2012 from severe acute malnutrition in Africa’s Sahel region, according to United Nations estimates; 127,000 of them are younger than 5 and in Chad. UNICEF has set up 261 nutrition-rehabilitation centers there and plans to build just as many during the next two months, but foreign funding has fallen short.