Bilingual is Better

Shot@Life 28 days of impact : Ana FloresLast August so many of you commented on my Blogust post to wish my daughter a happy 5th birthday and made your comment count as a $20 donation to Shot@Life. $20 is what it costs to give one child four life-saving vaccines. Those 267 comments from that one post translated into 267 children getting a chance to celebrate their 5th birthday, just like my daughter did. Collectively, the 31 bloggers that participated in Blogust were able to reach our goal of 10,000 comments to protect 10,000 children in developing countries from diarrhea, pneumonia, polio and measles.

We felt so accomplished to be able to use our online voices as a tool to bring both global health awareness and real aid to a cause that compels us all no matter where in the world it’s happening or how far it may feel. We understand how interconnected we all are and a mother suffering miles away, living in conditions we have no real perspective of and facing problems we rarely even give a second thought to is actually something that needs to concern us all. The well-being of all our children is the well-being of humanity’s future.

But with that sense of accomplishment also came a need to know more. We wanted to know who these mothers and children we were helping were. We wanted to see faces, learn names and hear their stories of the real impact these type of programs have on them. We wanted to go beyond the horrifying statistics and celebrate the stories of hope.

Shot@Life and the United Nations Foundation heard our requests and we are now celebrating “28 Days of Impact” throughout the month of February. As a follow up to Blogust, 28 bloggers are bringing to life the stories behind the work being done by Shot@Life and their partners.

Meet Rodha Mahamud

Rodha Mahamud Shot@Life 28 Days of Impact Ana Flores
Rodha lives in Bossaso, Somalia. Children born in Somalia have a higher chance of dying before their 5th birthday than anywhere else in the world. I doubt Rodha is aware of that statistic as a fact, but she doesn’t need to — she’s actually living proof of it. Rodha lost two of her nine children to measles after having her family displaced several times before they settled in a nearby displacement camp in Bossaso. That’s where she lost her two children and that’s also when she learned that there are vaccines that can prevent death from so many diseases, like measles.

Soon after she found out about  the Child Health Day, put together by the Ministries of Health, UNICEF and the World Health Organization. Volunteer social mobilizers from the communities go door to door to bring women with children under five to a Child Health Day clinic to receive a whole package of free healthcare, including immunizations. Now that Rodha was informed of the options accessible to her family thanks to these efforts, she decided to protect the children she has left and took her 9-month-old baby in for immunizations and a complete health package and assessment.

The impact can also be seen in this video by UNICEF correspondent Susannah Price reporting on a Child Health Day in Somalia. At 2:30 you will meet Rodha and her 9-month-old child.

The impact of vaccines on the lives of children around the world is incredible. Now, you can help sustain the impact by sending an email to your member of congress. Welcome your members to the 113th Congress and ask them to make sure that global health and vaccines are a priority in the new Congress. Take action and make an impact!

This story comes from UNICEF Somalia and is part of Shot@Life’s ’28 Days of Impact’ Campaign. A follow up to Blogust to raise awareness for global vaccines and the work being done by Shot@Life and their partners to help give children around the world a shot at a healthy life. Each day in February, you can read another impactful story on global childhood vaccines. Tomorrow, don’t miss Amy Graff’s post on BabyCenter! Go to www.shotatlife.org/impact to learn more.

{Photo Credit: UNICEF- Somalia. Correspondent Susannah Price reports.}

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