I recently returned from a trip to Guatemala with Save the Children. We visited a health post in the Vipecbalam community in Nebaj, it was a temporary health clinic set up by the Ministry of Health and supported by Save the Children.
Save the Children is working in these remote locations offering families healthcare and vaccinations from trained community healthcare workers. Unfortunately, thousands more around the world do not have access to the care that Save the Children offers the communities we visited. There are still many mothers and children around the world with little to no access to healthcare.
It was at this small health post that I broke down. I watched mothers lined up with their children for check ups, vaccinations, vitamin A, medications for little ones that were sick. Good was being done at this clinic, I was overjoyed and struggling at the same time.
I could see the look of despair on the face of one mother who had come with a malnourished baby boy, they checked him for possible pneumonia…. I could not help but think back to exactly one year earlier, when my son was very ill with pneumonia, he was a day from being put in the hospital. What would have happened to my son if we lived in Guatemala with no healthcare? I probably would have lost him.
A new trial has found that pneumococcal vaccine is effective in preventing severe pneumonia, the leading cause of death among children in developing countries. One in five children does not have access to vaccines that prevent deadly diseases, like measles, pneumonia or diarrhea. All of these diseases are easily preventable with immunizations. 2.5 million children, under the age of 5, die every year as the result of infectious diseases. Nintey-nine percent of those children live in developing countries around the world.
Some moms walk as far as 15 miles to reach life-saving vaccines for their children. As mothers, we all have a common goal. We all want the same things for our children - we all want to protect and nurture our children. The urgency for vaccine development to prevent the spread of numerous infectious diseases in these developing countries can not be emphasized enough.
These vaccines cost very little and they can give children a shot at a healthier, happier life.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Million Moms Challenge. The opinions and text are all mine. Contest runs November 14 to December 18, 2011. A random winner will be announced by December 20, 2011.