Of all countries in the western hemisphere, Haiti lags furthest behind in vaccination coverage. However, there are reasons for hope. The Haitian Ministry of Health (MSPP), the World Health Organization (WHO), The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the GAVI Alliance, American Red Cross (ARC), and key countries such as the United States, Brazil, Cuba, and Canada have pledged to coordinate in expanding coverage, including the introduction of new and much-needed vaccines. The full press release follows.
Today is World Pneumonia Day 2009. Every day, 4000 children die from pneumonia in Haiti and other countries throughout the developing world. This is more than HIV/AIDS, measles, and malaria combined. Despite that, it has not been a global health priority. This could change as there is more attention being given this preventable and treatable disease. While there is no single magic bullet, there are a series of proven interventions that, if scaled up, would protect and promote the health of children around the world. Click here to learn which organizations participated in World Pneumonia Day 2009 and here to learn how you can be a part of the global fight against pneumonia, not just for one day, but throughout the year.
According to Jonathan Katz, public health workers plan to vaccinate some 1 million women and children this week around Haiti's capital after delays exacerbated by food riots and hurricanes. The effort marks the second phase of an international goal to immunize 5.6 million Haitian children - more than half the country's population - against diseases like polio, measles and rubella.
A press release by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) announced the next phase of Haiti's largest vaccination campaign ever. According to PAHO, Haiti has the worst health indicators of any country in the Americas, including the highest rates of infant mortality and lowest rates of childhood immunization. This campaign will go a long way towards changing that. As Wyclef states in the Public Service Announcements that kicked off the campaign, "To vaccinate a child is an act of love".