April 24, 2016 |

Protecting Kids: powerful stories of immunization from the field

Meet the people on the ground who are passionate about making sure kids get the vaccines they need.

Smiling girl wearing a bunny T-shirt, with text, '#ProtectingKids'.

All children have a right to health, no matter where they live. One of the best ways to ensure a child’s health is through vaccines. And yet, even though vaccines exist for many preventable diseases, they’re still not available to every child. Today, nearly 1 in 5 kids worldwide lack access to these lifesaving interventions.

Welcome to Protecting Kids, a collection of stories curated from friends and partners of PATH for World Immunization Week.

Below you’ll find firsthand accounts from in-country champions who are working tirelessly to ensure all children have access to the immunizations they need to grow and thrive. Read through the whole collection and follow #ProtectingKids to join the online conversation.

Why my son is the future of fighting malaria 

By Samuel Oduor Wangowe, a community relations officer at the Kenya Medical Research Institute-Walter Reed Project in Kombewa, Kenya

A young boy smiles from atop a man's shoulders.
Samuel Wangowe lost a young son to malaria and dedicated his career to educating communities in Western Kenya about vaccines and other interventions for the disease that claimed his child’s life. Now, Sam has another young son at risk of contracting malaria, a disease that kills nearly 500,000 every year, most of them under the age of five. Photo: Jordan Gantz Creative.

Immunisation as the gateway to health: why women hold the key in Pakistan

By Anuradha Gupta, deputy CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

A woman speaks to another woman while people stand nearby.
In Pakistan, replacing the current model of male-only vaccinators with Lady Health Workers could be a turning point for expanding immunization coverage through better communication and trust-building with mothers. Photo: Gavi/Isaac Griberg.

Using communication and innovative approaches for child health

By Yaccine Djibo, founder and president of Speak Up Africa

Yacine Djibo, founder of Speak Up Africa, stands with a group of children.
Yacine Djibo believes we can promote sustainable development and child health through innovative multilayer communications campaigns and mass prevention. Photo: Speak Up Africa.

Lucky to be in Lakki

By Huma Khawar, a community consultant and immunization advocate in Pakistan

A woman speaks to a younger woman holding a child in her arms.
“One thing was evident: this was not a place frequented by visitors from other towns, let alone women.” Huma delivers a spell-bounding first-hand account from Pakistan’s conservative province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a region with dismally low immunization coverage. Photo: Huma Khawar/IVAC.

From heartbreak to hope: Argentina’s progress in maternal immunization 

By Dr. Romina Libster, head of the Clinical Research Unit at Fundación INFANT and faculty at Argentina’s National Research and Scientific Council

Sleeping infant wearing a black and white outfit and wrapped in a pink blanket.
An Argentine pediatrician shares why the loss of a little girl named Sol set her on a path to safeguard mothers and their infants. Photo: PATH/Doune Porter.

Prevention through vaccination begins with awareness

By Dr. A.P. Dubey, head of the Department of Pediatrics at Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi

Woman holding an infant with a red bonnet.
Trained as a pediatrician, Dr. Dubey’s singular priority was treating patients, until one mother with two sick children shared her story and changed his perspective forever. Now a fierce advocate for immunization, Dr. Dubey emphasizes the critical role of public awareness about vaccine impact, which is still lacking in many parts of India. Photo: PATH/Satvir Malhotra.

A refrigerator can save a life: improving the supply chain to protect African kids

By Brian Atuhaire, program officer, Devices and Tools Program at PATH based in Uganda

A health worker leans over a large, open, chest-style refrigerator.
How do we ensure lifesaving vaccines are available in remote, off-the-grid clinics? By investing in immunization supply chains to ensure every child in Africa can receive the vaccines they need to grow up healthy and strong. Photo: PATH/Brian Atuhaire.

Using better data to protect more kids 

By Mwanaidi Msangi, communications associate, BID Initiative

A woman in a hospital uniform looks at the camera.
“Did we vaccinate all the children we intended to this month? How many children do we expect next month and will we have enough vaccine supply in stock? How are we performing in terms of service delivery compared to neighboring facilities?” Learn how Oliver and other health workers in Arusha, Tanzania, are using better data for better decision-making to protect more kids with vaccines. Photo: PATH/Trevor Snapp.

Closing the gap: 3 things I would like to see

By Dr. Ramos Mboane, chief medical officer, Niassa Province, Mozambique

A health care worker prepares a vaccine as women holding children look on.
Dr. Ramos Mboane shares that there are many reasons children fail to get immunized. When he considers closing the immunization gap—in Niassa, and for other communities around the world—these are the three things he thinks are most important. Photo: VillageReach.

Good immunization data is not just for experts and nerds, it is for us all

By Dr. Chizoba Wonodi, lead of the Nigeria Country Program at the John Hopkins International Vaccine Access Center

A woman holds two sleeping babies in her arms.
Drawing from her work on accountability for immunization in Nigeria, Dr. Chizoba Wonodi says that to close the immunization gap, we must start with good data from the communities to measure how many children we are missing, find where these children live, and determine how best to reach them. Photo: Ahmed Muazu/Johns Hopkins University/IVAC.
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  • Portrait of Tracy Romoser. Photo: PATH/Patrick McKern.
    Tracy Romoser was formerly a communications officer and the blog editor at PATH.