Recently, Vidhya Ganesh, UNICEF Afghanistan’s Deputy Representative, visited UNICEF headquarters in New York. Jennifer Lee spoke with her about UNICEF’s work in Afghanistan, which emphasizes polio eradication, child survival, and giving girls equal access to education.
Tag Archives for "polio"
Recently, we at the U.S. Fund were visited by colleagues who are from a region that’s perhaps less commonly associated with UNICEF: Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS). I was excited to learn what UNICEF does in the region.
The CEE/CIS is one of the newer—and lesser known—regions where UNICEF does its work. Comprised of 22 countries, this area of the world is incredibly diverse, with varying levels of development. But these days, life for children in thisregion is difficult.
This week is the first ever World Immunization Week—an international event created to raise awareness about the importance of immunization. Besides the protection that immunization gives against childhood and maternal illnesses, it is also important to vaccinate during an emergency: like a war, a natural disaster, or a refugee crisis.
UNICEF is the world’s largest buyer of vaccines for the world’s poorest countries. In 2010, UNICEF supplied 2.5 billion doses of vaccines to 99 countries, and reached 58% of the world’s children. But still, an estimated 1.7 million children died from vaccine-preventable diseases in 2008 before reaching their fifth birthday.
POLIO: when the word is spoken aloud–alone and unconnected–it causes many to think of some ancient and forgotten disease. “Long since eradicated from the world,” many might say. Yet the reality, unfortunately, is very different: Polio is still here and it strikes fear in many parts of the world. Because this horrifying disease still cripples children around the globe.
Each year brings us a step closer to the elimination of polio. To help hasten the day that Zero children are afflicted with polio, please take a minute to sign our petition in support of global child survival and maternal health. U.S. Government appropriations for the fight to end polio are part of this overall funding.
UNICEF has been battling polio for decades. In 1988, UNICEF teamed up with a coalition of organizations and governments to launch a hugely ambitious partnership called the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Since then, incidence of polio has dropped by more than 99 percent. Still, polio hangs on. While endemic in only four countries — Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Nigeria — polio does not respect borders or sovereignty. And all it takes for the disease to spread is for only a few people to remain unvaccinated. Even in places where it has been eliminated, just a handful of new polio cases can reverse decades of work.