Every Child By Two Helping to End Polio Now
Aug 08, 2013

Written by Amy Pisani, Every Child By Two (ECBT) Executive Director, who is currently traveling alongside a United Nations delegation to observe the continuing efforts being made by governments and partnerships to stop a polio outbreak in the Horn of Africa and to eradicate polio. 

Awareness; the state or condition of being aware; having knowledge; consciousness.

National Immunization Awareness Month began on August 1st. For most people in the developed world, immunizations are considered a “right of passage” for young children, a precaution against deadly diseases that once caused families to lose a child, or several children before they reached adulthood.  While the vast majority of parents throughout the U.S. and other “economically-stable” countries vaccinate their children, most do so without second thought.  While many appreciate that vaccines will keep their children safe from diseases, parents are able to remain blissfully unaware of the catastrophic illnesses that are prevented every day through the miracle of vaccines, simply because we do not witness the actual diseases any longer.
Polio is one such disease that crippled thousands of children right here in the U.S. each year.  The U.S. has been polio free since 1979.  According to news reports, a 4-month-old girl came down with paralysis on April 30, and then two healthy kids nearby also tested positive for the polio virus.  Health officials warn that polio is a virus that spreads silently and for every known case, at least 200 people have the virus and can spread the virus, yet never develop polio. While this case was found in the Horn of Africa, Americans should be no less alarmed, since polio anywhere is a threat to children everywhere.

ECBT Executive Director Amy Pisani, ECBT's Vaccine Ambassador to Shot@Life Amanda Peet, along with Shot@Life and UNICEF staff in Africa.

ECBT Executive Director Amy Pisani, ECBT’s Vaccine Ambassador to Shot@Life Amanda Peet, along with Shot@Life and UNICEF staff in Africa.

This week I will be joining with ECBT Spokesperson Actor Amanda Peet and colleagues from the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign to travel to Africa where we will witness the incredible work being done to eradicate polio and measles from the face of the earth.  Already global partnerships involving national governments, WHO, Rotary International, UNICEF and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have led to a 99% reduction in polio cases since 1988 when the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was launched. And The Measles Initiative has vaccinated one billion children since 2001, decreasing worldwide deaths by 74%.
CDC Director Tom Frieden. who activated the CDC’s Emergency Operation Center to strengthen partnerships through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 2011, has stated that

“if we fail to get over the finish line, we will need to continue expensive control measures for the indefinite future…More importantly, without eradication, a resurgence in polio could paralyze more than 200,000 children worldwide every year within a decade.”

Our trip will include visits to clinics throughout the region where vaccines are saving lives every day by preventing pneumonia, polio, measles and more.  We will meet with dedicated health workers from UNICEF, Rotary International, WHO, CDC, United Nations and local officials and health workers to discuss what Every Child By Two and the Shot@Life campaign can do to encourage US support for international vaccination efforts.
Today more than 10 million people are walking, who would have been paralyzed by polio.  We are incredibly close to wiping polio from the face of the earth, in fact we are 99% of the way there…I hope you will join Every Child By Two in doing what we can to help reach the final goal.  Stay tuned as I bring you along on my journey.

If you would like to contribute to the efforts to reduce vaccine preventable diseases be sure to comment on Amanda Peet’s recent blog post on Shot of Prevention.  For every comment, Walgreens Pharmacy will contribute a vaccine for a child in need (up to 50,000 vaccines) as part of Shot@Life’s Blogust ’13 campaign.

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7 responses to “Every Child By Two Helping to End Polio Now”

  1. HaHaHA says:

    blah blah blah

  2. Melody RN says:

    I am so excited to hear that Ms. Pisani and Ms. Peet have been able to take such an amazing trip! I look forward to your safe return and can’t wait to hear about the adventures and the inspiring people you met. Good luck and be safe ladies!

  3. Christine Vara says:

    Thank you Melody! It’s easy for some to say “blah, blah, blah” (as the comment above indicates). But sadly there are still plenty of people in this world who clearly don’t understand the difference vaccines are making in the lives of children in other countries. As a mother, I would hate to have to live with the fear and worry that my child may suffer and perhaps even die from a disease that could have easily been prevented by a life-saving vaccine. I’m certain that Ms. Pisani and Ms. Peet will return with the images of young children indelibly marked in their minds. Children that they will continue to work hard to help save by working day after day to facilitate better access to global vaccines. And thanks also to the efforts you and all the other RNs in this country make to continue to immunize children in the U.S. We are so appreciative of your continued interest in the health of our children.

  4. Costner says:

    I really hope polio is one day only found in the history books. It will be a great day when we can say it has been eliminated from the planet just as we did with smallpox.

  5. Chris says:

    It will take lots of work, but it can be done. Let us get rid of polio!

  6. Lori says:

    Great work!

  7. Lawrence says:

    I look forward to a number of disease eradication events in my lifetime – (already got Smallpox & Rinderpest) – would be great to add Polio & perhaps even Measles….if the antivax folks can just get out of the way…..

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