The last week of April is World Immunization Week. It seems like an unlikely event to celebrate. Most US parents take immunizations for granted and have never experienced the consequences of not having the significant majority of our population immunized.
According to the World Health Organization, “Immunization averts an estimated 2 to 3 million deaths every year, providing protection from diphtheria, measles, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rotavirus diarrhea, rubella and tetanus. Yet, an estimated 22 million infants are not fully immunized with routine vaccines.” The World Health Organization goes on to indicate “there is an urgent need to better communicate the health benefits of vaccination and the dangers of not immunizing children.”
Health beliefs, here we are again in our quest to improve the health of VisionTrust children. While we have traveled in Guatemala, Liberia, and India determining what immunizations are available and how responsive the project communities are to having their children immunized, the challenges remain unresolved. Simply, we have found the more indigenous the community, the more protective their health beliefs related to outside practices.
The Global Health Team is working hard to connect regional immunization resources to our children and assessing what types of immunizations require additional resources from VisionTrust. Again we find ourselves serving as health detectives and health belief translators. Please pray God will bring these life-saving resources to our children and that their communities will embrace them for the health of their children.