We Are All Living Proof
Oct 28, 2009

By Amy Pisani
Living Proof ProjectLast night I was glued to my computer watching the live webcast of the Gates Foundation’s Living Proof Project:  U.S. Investments in Global Health are Working.  Bill and Melinda Gates gave an awesome multimedia presentation showcasing some of the truly impressive strides we have made in global health. I was so thrilled to hear Melinda Gates call vaccines the “great miracles of our lifetime.” Thanks to vaccination, we’ve been able to bring down cases of Diphtheria 93%, Tetanus 85%, and Measles 93% since 1980.
The presentation really hit home with me when they showed villages and people in the developing world that have benefited from vaccination. I was moved by the video they showed of a village in Nicaragua called Pantasma that was able to receive shipments of the vaccine against rotavirus, which kills 500,000 children in developing countries each year.  The video showed the health clinic in Pantasma,  which saw so many cases that they had to put two kids in each bed.  One of the doctors in the clinic said that when the vaccine arrived in Pantasma, the number of cases of rotavirus dropped – and there are now no children in their rotavirus ward. Eighty percent of Nicaraguan children under the age of 5 have now been vaccinated against rotavirus, a truly impressive number that can hopefully be replicated in other nations. 
These videos are so important to watch for two reasons. First, it’s important for people in the U.S.  to see how much our investments in global health are helping those in need. And second, I think we sometimes take our own health for granted in this country. The alarming trend of parents spacing out or skipping their children’s shots does not seem like such a big deal when we don’t see the devastation of these diseases in our everyday lives. Watching presentations like this one shows us that they are only a plane ride away.
A webcast of Bill and Melinda Gates’ presentation is available online, which you can view here: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/livingproofproject/Pages/impatient-optimists-speech.aspx
At the end of the speech, Bill and Melinda asked that everyone in the audience share this with one other person whose opinion they respect. I encourage all of you to do the same.


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