Friday, 27 May 2011

My children don't know how lucky they are...so I'm passing it on

.. and that's not a criticism of them. They are 6 and 4 - how can they know that other children aren't as lucky as them? That they don't have a toy, let alone piles of them? That they don't get sweets, or sometimes food? Oh, and that they don't have access to water that is clean and safe, that doesn't make them ill when they drink it?

Health. It is something that they also take for granted. They don't understand that they are lucky to be well most days. That most regular diseases that could have killed them as young children are almost eradicated. That we have effectively palatial living conditions that despite the grubby nature, is clean and largely free of pathogens.

They don't know how lucky they are to have had immunisations to protect them from many killer diseases. They may not have felt lucky when sharp needles pierced their young flesh and squeezed a mystery liquid into their blood stream, although the sweets and stickers might have been worth it. But no, they don't know that because of those injections, their chances of reaching adulthood largely illness free are so much higher than children in developing countries.

But wait a minute. Is it a case that they are lucky, or the other children are unlucky not to have had their vaccinations? If my children, when adults, met someone from one of those countries - say, Mozambique - who suffered pain and poor health from childhood diseases as a result of NOT having those vaccinations, could they look them in the eye and say it was right that they were lucky? That it was right that they were UNlucky? All through an accident of where they were born?

It's not fair, is it? Truly, honestly, it's utterly unfair. But even today, 1 in 5 children receive no immunisation against killer diseases. At all. Save the Children are campaigning heavily to put pressure on world leaders who are meeting in London in June at the Global Vaccines Summit to get them to fund vaccines fully and stop this awful statistic - 25,000 children die every day, and a good proportion are entirely preventable.

To highlight this, the lovely Chris from Thinly Spread with two other bloggers, is going to Mozambique this weekend to follow a vaccine on its journey from the city to a rural community to see how it gets there intact - a challenge when it needs to be kept cold. It's going to be an incredible experience and one that will show HOW the GVS can make a difference if they put their collective minds to it.

Chris's journey will have added impact if we all add our voices to the campaign. We can't all go to Mozambique, but we can support the cause. Paula from Battling On came up with a great idea. It's called The Gift Tag.


Here's what you do:

1) Click here and sign the petition to save four million children’s lives

2) Click here to download your Pass It On gift tag

3) Print it, sign it and Pass it On, and on, and on, and on……

THEN you can either:

a) Blog about it, you can link back here or lift the instructions and place them on your own blog – doesn’t matter at all

b) Facebook it – post a pic of your signed Gift Tag to your facebook wall and tag all of your friends to Pass it On

c) Twitter – twitpic it and @ your followers to Pass It On

d) Print it out and Pass it On – to your neighbour, your mum, your local paper, your children’s school, the postman (you get the picture)

I haven't tagged anyone specifically, but if you're reading this and you haven't done this already, please consider yourself tagged.

Ultimately, my children don't know how lucky they are to have their health on top of all the possessions that they have. It doesn't have to be this way. We can change things. The GVS is scheduled to take four hours; in that time, they could make decisions that lead to the saving of 4 million children's lives every year. That's 4 millions fewer mothers deprived of their children by entirely preventable causes. In 4 short hours.

Let's make it happen. And make all children as lucky as mine, and yours. Pass it on, will you?
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