Gavi-Lions are out to get (rid of) measles

In 2016-17, we are working to support an organization with an important mission. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is an international nonprofit devoted to saving lives through vaccination. Gavi works with global foundations, governments, and external partners bringing life-saving vaccines to children in the poorest countries of the world.

One of Gavi’s important partners is Lions Clubs International Foundation, whose volunteers are critical to social mobilization – educating families and making sure they physically get their children to the vaccines. In 2016, we supported the Gavi – Lions Clubs campaigns including Zambia with articles and graphics, strategic communication planning, social media campaigns, and digital content, and marketing materials.

Now we are supporting Gavi-Lions by promoting their joint effort and one their biggest challenges: the 2017-18 India measles-rubella campaign aiming to immunize over 40 million Indian children against these serious but preventable diseases.

Measles—a highly contagious virus—is one of the top killers of unvaccinated children around the world. By weakening the immune system, measles can also lead to other health problems such as pneumonia, blindness, diarrhea, and encephalitis. Every year, 20 million people are affected by measles. Tragically, 315 children die every day as a result of measles complications.

Gavi and Lions volunteers often face serious challenges when trying to reach children in underdeveloped countries. They have to to find knowledgeable volunteers, fight infrastructure barriers, and overcome the fear of vaccines.

While vaccines are easily accessible in developed countries, we can find anti-immunization movements almost everywhere. The effectiveness of vaccines is not an “alternative fact” though. Despite studies involving more than 95,000 children showing that vaccines do not cause autism, vaccine myths like this prevent parents from getting their children vaccinated. This is why measles outbreaks still occur in the US. The state of Arizona reported 22 cases in the summer of 2016, making it one of the biggest outbreaks in the country — 70 cases were reported in total in 2016.

In September 2016, the Pan American Health Organization of the Americas declared the region of the Americas measles-free. However, outbreaks such as the one in Arizona last year will continue occurring. It can be brought in from travelers overseas and spread if immunization rates drop.

Silverbee is proud to support Gavi-Lions and their goal to eliminate measles in the world fighting for healthier children, healthier communities, and improved global health.