My time spent in developing countries and impoverished areas of the U.S. has made me see one thing very clearly: children around the globe do not have equal opportunities in life. While working on the Buduburam Refugee camp in Ghana, I held children who were weak and malnourished, hanging onto a thin life thread after a round of diarrhea. In Togo, I held a 2 year old with pneumonia whose sickness decreased his should-be-robust-size to a mere twenty pounds. I spoke with and interacted with mothers who cared for their siblings with polio twisted limbs while looking after their own children. My stories are numerous, and though the scenarios vary, one thing was often true: the quality of these young lives was greatly being compromised by illnesses that are easily prevented with vaccines.
When my own son was born in Ghana, we were not to be released from the hospital before he received his vaccine for polio and Hepatitis B. Paid for by UNICEF and made possible by efforts of the World Health Organization, my son's second round of vaccines were administered in the large, bustling city market center. We were just one mother and child in a long line of others who were provided access to life saving vaccines, all thanks to the efforts of organizations like GAVI Global Alliance.
Aware that there are heated debates around vaccines in many parts of the developed world, I recognize that there are many reasons why some mothers feel it is best for their child if they opt out of some of the recommended vaccinations. Because I have first hand seen the devastating effects of polio and Hepatitis, pneumonia and diarrhea, I am eager to support the efforts of organizations working to bring affordable (usually free) vaccines to children around the world.
On Saturday, September 15, I will join the efforts of other World Mom Blog contributors in hosting a GAVI Global Tea Party. Our parties are being filmed with the intention of creating a short documentary showing women around the world working to raise awareness of GAVI's efforts. If you would like to join in the meaningful fun, but cannot make it to Bali in time for the party, you could host a tea party too!
At my party, we will sip Balinese tea, while watching and discussing videos from the GAVI Alliance. Here's one to get you started.
Yours in Awareness and Action,
What are your thought/experiences with vaccinations?
Leave your comments below!
Erin Michelle Threlfall
Theatre Artist, Activist, and Educator, Erin is the mother of a budding genius in his 7th year of study. Erin and her little man, Edem, have a plan to investigate world theatre and influence education one continent at a time. Ghana, South Korea, Togo and Bali have been checked off the list of places to live; these days they call Brooklyn home.