As you know, social media engagement, comments, tweets, pins, plus, likes, and all that stuff ONLY make sense if transformed into concrete offline actions that change lives. That’s the reason I immediately said YES to the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life #Blogust. Because every single comment you leave here today will mean a $20 donation up to a total initial amount of $30,000 or 1,500 comments. Asi es! So I need you to not only leave your comment but go ask your vecinos, tias, and primos to comment. This is for real.
I was asked to write about the importance of commenting on blogs. Not that I’m a trouble maker
and hardly ever follow rules, but I would hate to miss the opportunity to talk about the impact of immunization with my fellow Latino(a)s in social media. We got commenting covered since we are over indexing in social networking sites and social engagement. Latinos love the Tiki Tiki! However we have the lowest vaccination rates in the country.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), children of recent immigrants bear a higher risk of underimmunization. This means that our kids are at risk of getting PREVENTABLE diseases. As a mom, I hate to see my kids sick. No matter what I hear about all the myths and babosadas about vaccinations, I stick to the schedule because it’s a quick solution to preventing way too many deadly diseases for them. If it’s in our hands, we must take advantage of the solution. If I can beg you for anything in our crazy big LATISM community, it will be to talk with all the moms you know about the importance to immunize their children. Also all the abuelitos who are getting sick a lot faster and leading a poor quality vejez because of their lack Pneumococcal Vaccinations.
Back in our Latin American countries, the child mortality rate has been greatly reduced thanks to immunization. According to the Health Affairs Organization childhood immunization has become a foundational strategy for achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Immunization indicators are being used to monitor progress toward the achievement of child mortality (MDG4), maternal health (MDG5) and the reduction in cancer as a major disease of global importance (MDG6). To show you that this is for real, let me highlight the following LATAM facts:
1) In 1990 there were an estimated 2.8 million measles cases and 46,000 deaths due to measles infection in Latin America.8 By 2004, 119 cases and no deaths were reported. That’s an impressive 99% reduction in measles cases and death.
2) Approximately 23,000 tetanus cases occurred in 1990, with approximately 19,000 deaths.11 By 2004, 93 cases and 71 deaths from neonatal tetanus were reported by LATAM countries.
3) In 1990, 24,409 pertussis cases were reported, and GBD estimates of deaths due to pertussis approximated 17,000.13 By 2004, 4,928 cases and 74 deaths were reported.
4) In 1990 there were an estimated 20,000 cases of meningitis and an estimated 3,300 deaths caused by Hib.15By 2004 there were 330 cases reported, and the estimate of deaths approximated 50.16 This represents a 98 percent reduction in cases and deaths.
I was super impressed by these facts because the correlation between immunization interventions and the decrease of preventable diseases screams loud and clear. This is thanks to organizations like The Pan American Health Organization, through their Immunization Unit. The GAVI Alliance and so many other organizations that are playing a key role in the solution of this shameful problem. Back in April, I myself had the honor to witness the first simultaneous roll-out of two new vaccines, pneumococcal and rotavirus, to help prevent the two deadliest killers of children under five in the developing world. This was thanks to the ONE Organization and their endless work to bring more vaccines and prevent deaths.
Despite the huge improvements, the goal hasn’t been reached. Most Latin American countries have districts or municipalities where coverage is under 80 percent. A big reason for that is lack of money. Imagine that it costs around US$8 for a rotavirus dose and US$54 per pneumococcal dose. That’s a lot of money for too many families living in the barrios and rural areas.
We’re so close to reaching the goal and that’s the reason why we must help the UN Foundation with the Shot@Life campaign. Let’s give them the último empujón (last push) with our comments today, tomorrow and for the rest of the campaign. You need to follow them on Twitter and Facebook. Keep up with their call to actions and say presente. You can prevent 149,000 additional deaths in Latin America. If in doubt, take a look at this power of vaccine infographic
If you are as passionate as I am about stopping the death of our Latino kids and moms both here and in LATAM, then leave a comment, get your friends to comment. For more information about the #Blogust, read the FAQ. Don’t forget to visit Isabel Kallman tomorrow at Alpha Mom. I met Isabel last year and immediately fell in love with her passion and commitment to social good. You will love what she has to say.