Flickr: RIBI Image Library
When I try and tell people about the effectiveness of the Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance's immunization programs, it can be difficult to put their impact into context. In less than 15 years, Gavi has helped vaccinate almost half a billion children - that's about equivalent to the entire population of the European Union. These efforts have saved close to 6 million lives.
However, the thing that really shocked me was how effectively the Gavi is able to operate on a global scale. It works with governments all over the world to ensure that vaccines, many of which require refrigeration, can reach even the most remote places.
Below I've tried to put some faces on the statistics in an effort to better demonstrate that when we talk about vaccines, we are talking about real people. Here are 17 photos from vaccination programmes around the world.
President Yovery Kaguta Museveni holds a baby that has just been vaccinated in Iganga, eastern Uganda last year, following a ceremony where the Uganda government introduced the pneumococcal vaccine with Gavi support that will potentially save thousands of children who would otherwise succumb to pneumonia – the leading pneumococcal disease.
On the eve of the Gavi partners’ Forum in the United Republic of Tanzania, Zanzibar’s ministry of health invited Gavi CEO Dr Seth Berkley and a group of Alliance partners to visit health care clinics where immunization sessions and maternal health care services have helped raise immunization coverage.
Lao PDR last year became the first Asian country to begin a Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine demonstration project with Gavi support. HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer. The country also launched pneumococcal vaccine nationwide at the same time.
4) Sierra Leone
A health worker transports vaccines to rural villages. Vaccinations are an important entry point for a variety of basic health interventions. Nurses and health workers examine the children, measure their growth and educate their mothers on important health practices.
In conjunction with Vaccination Week and World Immunization Week 2013, Haiti introduced pentavalent vaccines in partnership with the Gavi. Its target: protect more than 200,000 children against five deadline diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (also known as whooping cough), Haemophilus influenzae type B and hepatitis B.
Shewangezhew Moges, a health worker, vaccinates Fasika as her mother Asnaku Saso holds her during a home visit. Ethiopia will be protecting the 2.8 million children born in the country each year with a vaccine against rotavirus, which leads to severe and often fatal diarrhoea.
Up to 6.8 million children in Congo aged from 6 months to 9 years are being vaccinated.
Mothers wait with their children to have them vaccinated. Through its commitment to immunization and other child health interventions, Vietnam has drastically reduced child deaths, putting the country well on track to reach the Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG) before the 2015 deadline.
A man rejoices with a victory sign following an immunization clinic. This was in the district of Bareilly, in Uttar Pradesh, where there was a demonstration of the vaccine logistics management system (eVIN).
Hamed Dawd and his mother Amina Humed relax at home. Ethiopia will be protecting the 2.8 million children born in the country each year with a vaccine against rotavirus, which leads to severe, and often fatal, diarrhoea.
A mother with her son at a local health clinic waiting to be vaccinated. Children in Rwanda are benefitting from the introduction of the rotavirus vaccine, which protects against the leading cause of severe diarrhoea. Rotavirus currently takes the lives of many Rwandan children every year, accounting for more than 8% of all under-five deaths.
Universe Enebong, 44 (wearing blue apron), and Angelica Ujaga, 44, are community health workers based at the rural health clinic in Ikang, Bakassi, Cross River State, Nigeria. They are travelling to the village of Ikot Archigbong which like many other villages can only be reached by boat along the Atlantic estuary. Due to tidal patterns and currents, this makes the journey dangerous. Once at the village, the carry out routine immunization and general health checks on the villagers.
Children will benefit from protection against Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) disease, in addition to continuing protection from four other childhood killers, as the country introduces the five-in-one pentavalent vaccine into its routine immunization program.
Parents of a very young baby wait at the clinic to get their child immunized. Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic, is the second poorest country in Central Asia but can claim one of the highest immunization rates in the world
Shunkatala Halo Mal, 30, prepares pneumococcal vaccine for a young child during a field visit to her village. She has worked as Lady Health Worker (LHW) since 2002 in a remote desert village in the Sindh province of Pakistan.
16) Nigeria 2
Musa Abasiya (in white), the ward head of Maikunkele village, is a traditional leader who helps educate parents and the wider local population about the benefits of vaccination and good maternal health.