A Global Call to Action from the World Health Assembly
May 26, 2012 BY Kate Dodson
This week, more than 3,000 people including health ministers from nearly every country in the world gathered in Geneva for the annual World Health Assembly. And in the midst of important conversations on organizational reform of the World Health Organization, what happens after the end of the current Millennium Development Goals, and other critical issues, those ministers came together to reaffirm that vaccines are a fundamental human right to health.
Shot@Life tracked these meetings closely from Geneva, working behind the scenes to make sure world leaders knew that thousands of you have already stood up to commit to providing every child with a shot at a healthy future.
There were two important resolutions passed this week at the Assembly. First, countries around the world came together to establish a new global roadmap to save more than 20 million lives by 2020 through vaccines. The Global Vaccine Action Plan, or GVAP, lays out major milestones like global eradication of polio, elimination of measles, global introduction of new vaccines to fight pneumonia and diarrhea, and importantly, closing the gap for the 1 in 5 kids who don't have access to vaccines. It was inspiring to see such significant support from so many countries.
The global effort to eradicate polio also had an important milestone this week. Recognizing that we are on the verge of successfully eradicating this debilitating disease -- thanks to an incredibly inexpensive and effective vaccine -- ministries of health resoundingly agreed that the eradication of polio is a "programmatic emergency for public health."
Why an emergency? Because we have never had so few cases in so few countries as we have had this year. And we know we can get all the way there - India has now been free of polio for 17 months, a fear that seemed impossible even a few years ago given the number of kids who hadn't been immunized. And yet we face a $950 million funding shortfall to get there, which has forced the cancellation of 22 immunization campaigns thus far this year.
The "programmatic emergency" declaration really is a global call to action that now is the time to get rid of polio once and for all.
You can do your part to support this global effort. Donate $20 to show you are ready to stand up with world leaders and make sure every child has access to vaccines.
POSTED IN: Global Health
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