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By UNICEF Australia
10 April 2019

Every Mother’s Day, most of us buy our mums either flowers, chocolates or gift vouchers with a doting card sharing our love and gratitude. But this year instead of the predictable pressies, how about giving mum a gift that could save millions of children's lives. How? Through life-saving vaccines. From one mother to another let’s make protection contagious, not disease.

Ami’s first child - a little boy - died after contracting tetanus. Like many women in her remote village in Senegal, she delivered her baby on the concrete floor outside her home. The only help she had was a traditional birth attendant.

“After a few days, we noticed he was trembling excessively,” Ami’s mother-in-law, Mame Touty, says.

“Unfortunately we didn’t think immediately of going to the medical centre. We used traditional ways to try and cure the disease. It took us a week after the birth before we decided to go and see a medical doctor and he was diagnosed with tetanus.”

Ami plays outside with her second son. ©UNICEF/UNI155511/Matas

We spent nine days in hospital, but he died on the tenth day,” Mame Touty says.

A few years later, Ami gave birth to another baby boy.

"The second time around we did it properly and since then, everyone is following in our footsteps."

Ami holds her second child.
Ami holds her second child.

Tetanus is typically contracted through unhygienic childbirth practises. The disease is swift, cruel and lethal but it is also highly preventable. An affordable vaccine given to women of childbearing age can stop tetanus.

That’s why Christemene, four months pregnant, walked with her two young children across Haiti’s mountainous terrain for an hour to get her vital vaccinations from a mobile post.

“I came to the church to get my injections and to get two of my children vaccinated,” Christemene says.

Christemene walked with her children over mountainous terrain for an hour to ensure they would received their vaccinations.
Christemene walked with her children over mountainous terrain for an hour to ensure they would received their vaccinations.

"It was painful and I have swelled up a bit, but I know the vaccines can help protect my baby. I want the very best for my baby"

UNICEF and its partners are committed to reducing the number of cases of tetanus to zero. We can do this by preventing the disease through vaccines and by ensuring mothers and their babies have safe and hygienic birth deliveries.

Vaccinations are protecting more children than ever before. No matter where they are in the world - children who are vaccinated have a better chance to survive, thrive and reach their potential.


Here’s how it works

  1. Purchase a UNICEF Inspired Gift. From therapeutic food to clean water, school supplies to vaccinations, we have something for everyone.
  2. A personalised card will be sent to your loved one telling them about the life-saving impact they're having on children.
  3. Real supplies will be dispatched from a UNICEF warehouse to wherever they're most needed.

There's no better way to show someone how much you appreciate everything they've done to make your life better. Buy one instantly to make someone's day and forever change the lives of vulnerable children.