Currently, one in every five of the world's children don't have access to life-saving vaccines, putting them at risk of contracting deadly but preventable diseases like measles, polio, tetanus and whooping cough.
Your donation will help UNICEF ensure every child is protected from preventable disease.
Each year, nearly two million children die for want of a simple vaccination
- often they miss out on these life-saving interventions because they live in some of the most isolated communities in the world's poorest countries.
Vaccines are fragile and must be kept between 2 and 8 degrees to maintain their effectiveness. This makes transporting vaccines to remote communities very challenging, and thousands of volunteers and health professionals must work tirelessly every day to reach the most remote children and administer their vaccines.
“I volunteer so I can save my nation and our children from this crippling disease. ”
Immunisation saves up to 3 million children's lives each year, yet one in every five of the world's children still don't have access to life-saving immunisations. That's more than 22 million children at risk of dying from preventable diseases, right now.
There is nothing worse than watching your child suffer. Francisca knows that all too well. Her son Joel is desperately ill. At just 14 months old, Joel has measles, and has now also contracted an associated brain inflammation called meningitis. Every few moments his body stiffens and spasms. His face screws up in a grimace from the pain. And, because measles has also made him blind, he rubs at his eyes while staring, unseeing.
“I never thought I’d say this,” says his mother, “but I wanted him to cry. At least when he was crying I knew he was still alive.”
Yet all this pain and suffering could have been avoided if only Joel had been reached with a vaccination. Joel and Francisca live in Huambo, Angola, with Joel's two other siblings. Their home is a long way from the health clinic where Joel could have been vaccinated. It takes four different buses to get there, and the round trip costs $10.
“I didn’t have enough money for the bus fares,” Francisca said. She earns less than $2 a day selling the corn, cassava and carrots she grows on a small plot of land in front of her home. When asked what advice she would give to other mothers with young children, Francisca says, “Tell mothers they need to vaccinate their children.”
Too often, and certainly in the case of Joel and Francisca, the most challenging part of ensuring all children are protected is in getting the vaccines to the children. In some places, provision of something as simple as a bicycle to a local health worker, equipped with a vaccine carrier box, can give thousands of children the chance to be protected.
Support UNICEF today to help deliver vaccines to the most remote places, so that you can save tens, hundreds even thousands of other children from a tragedy like that facing baby Joel.