Worldwide Children’s Immunization Report
Sunday, January 17, 2010
11:04 AM
Immunization is essential for child survival. UNICEF reported in 2009 that “the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) is to reduce child mortality by two thirds between 1990 and 2015.” Vaccines have already saved millions of lives over the past three decades, but there are still many more millions of lives that need to be saved. 27 million children under age one and 40 million pregnant women are overlooked annually worldwide by routine immunization services. Therefore, 2 million deaths occur each year due to vaccine-preventable diseases.

In order to ensure progress to full immunization, the UN General Assembly Special Session for Children in 2002 created an agenda that included:

-Reduction of measles deaths by half by 2005
-Certify the global eradication of polio by 2005
-Extend the benefits of new and improved vaccines.

During that year in many developing countries, the immunization rates increased substantially. More than 41 developing countries have now met the agenda, yet there is the constraint of health delivery systems, making it almost impossible to reach those that need help. According to UNICEF, “there is a lack of needed human and financial resources; rapid turnover of trained health workers, especially at the district levels; weak supervision and use of data; competing health priorities; as well as the inability of some public health programs to fully reach very poor families, minorities and those living in remote locations or amid conflict.”

In order to be able to reach these individuals, the main priority must be to target the unreached populations in all areas. Many countries use what is called the Reach Every District Approach in order to seek greater equity and availability of routine immunization services.

Vaccine-preventable diseases cause an estimated 1.4 million deaths in children under five annually. Measles, for example, is one of the largest single killers among the vaccine-preventable diseases, causing an estimated 530,000+ deaths a year. Other vaccine-preventable diseases that cause deaths include: tuberculosis, diphtheria, hepatitis B, rotavirus, pertussis, and pneumococcal disease. The World Health Report predicts, “Vaccines against pneumococcal disease and rotavirus may be widely available in developing countries by 2008-2009.”

UNICEF launched the Global Immunization Vision and Strategy for 2006-2015. Its goals and strategies fall into four areas:

-Immunize more people against more diseases.
-Introduce a range of newly available vaccines and technologies.
-Provide a number of critical health interventions along with immunization.
-Achieve a secure, equitable supply of resources for immunization through collaboration among governments, donors, international organizations and vaccine manufacturers.

Success is believed to be possible, but it is going to take a group effort. For more information on this and other similar topics, go to: www.unicef.org.

Information
Location: United Nations Headquarters
Author: Vanessa Pinto
NGO: Manhattanville College

About
I'm a senior majoring in English. I attend and report on UN Briefings and other meetings from October through May. I published a novel at the age of seventeen and have three years of writing experience for my college newspaper, literary and travel magazine. My focus is magazine & editorial writing and travel documentary. I am also active in global volunteer efforts for peace and interfaith alliance, as well as the promotion of animal rights, women's rights and education, and disaster relief.

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UNA-USA: YPIC, World Youth Alliance, GPC, Seeds of Peace, WHO, UNICEF, UN University

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