I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends

I received a nice surprise when I checked email today. Ben Rattray of change.org fame sent me an email saying that my idea made it to the final round of voting for the “Ideas for Change in America” competition.  The final round of voting begins at 8am ET on Monday, January 5th and ends at 5pm ET on Thursday, January 15th.

I have a favor to ask of you dear readers. Please vote for my idea, “Save Children from Preventable Diseases.” I can’t really provide any incentives other than the promise of good karma. C’mon, you want to do it. It’s for the kids. Vote here please!

Save Children from Preventable Diseases

Estimates show that approximately 11 million children die needlessly, primarily from preventable diseases such as measles, malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia. Most of the medical interventions cost pennies per child.

While no one would say fighting major epidemics such as HIV and tuberculosis are very important, these preventable diseases kill hundreds everyday needlessly.

Vaccines are one of modern history’s most important medical innovations yet they remain out of reach for millions of children. Generally rough conditions without necessary refridgeration and proper storage keep health professionals from delivering vaccines to those who need them most. Supporting research for affordable, portable and electricity-free refridgeration will help to keep the doses sufficiently chilled as they are delivered to communities.

Water-borne diseases like diarrhea can be treated with oral rehydration salts. The administration can take a lesson from The Coca Cola project which aims to include oral rehydration salts with every distribution of Coca Cola in developing countries. There are also countless filters to purify the water sources that people are able to find. All that remains is educating about the need for clean water.

Looking outside of the major three diseases of HIV, TB, and malaria could be a cost effective way to save millions of lives.


3 comments so far

  1. Lorraine on

    Hey, this is Aryn–Andrew’s girlfriend! I’ve been reading your blog from time to time ever since you were in Mozambique. Now I have my own blog and so I added yours to my blogroll.

    Anyway, CONGRATS! That’s a great honor! When voting opens back up Jan. 5th I’ll be sure to vote.

  2. Anonymous on

    Before you advocate for vaccinations, you should do some research. Here is a place to start: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/14/health/14vacc.html?ex=1381723200&en=d98c7d9bde6faa0e&ei=5124&partner=digg&exprod=digg
    As it turns out, many vaccines have some nasty unintended and unforeseen consequences, and yet, the parents are made to do those experiments on their children. The article above is only a tip of the iceberg. The Chicken Pox vaccination is now having the effect of people suffering from debilitating shingles, not to mention that the people that got the Chicken Pox vaccine will not be immune to the Chicken Pox for life, as the vaccine immunity wanes by the time the disease itself becomes really dangerous – the adulthood. Also, the poor babies of the women that never experienced the Chicken Pox disease. They will have absolutely no protection from the disease through their mothers’ milk, unlike the babies of the women that had Chicken Pox. Do you know what happens to the babies that get Chicken Pox early on? They most likely die, unlike the kids of the age at which they are being vaccinated now. Check the CDC website. They clearly state that Chicken Pox is dangerous to adults and infants, not so much to small children. Why are we vaccinating those and preventing them from developing a life-long immunity to the disease? What about the HPV vaccine? Have you seen how many of the girls that got it either got paralyzed or died from a cardiac arrest? How about if they were already exposed to the HPV before the vaccine, the vaccine actually very much increased their chances of developing cervical cancer? Have you gotten the HPV vaccine yourself? If not, you really should get the vaccine yourself before you start telling people they have no right to say what goes into their kids’ bodies. In fact, you should get some catch-up vaccinations of all the shots you didn’t receive as a child as there are much more of them now. Maybe, you should get a cocktail of them injected all at once too, just like they do to the babies. As for the public health risk, read the first article I gave the url for above, and see that the vaccines are the ones that create public health risks, not the unvaccinated people. In fact, I was never vaccinated for anything, had all my childhood diseases in childhood, just as it’s supposed to be and with no special medical treatment and no complications, and will never have them again, while you may have gotten vaccinated for all these things, but your so-called immunity will be gone within 3-7 years, and then you’ll be the health risk for everyone around, without even knowing it. Shame on you, “Parents don’t have an absolute right to decide on the medical treatment of their children when it comes to public health risks”. By the way, it’s ignorant to say that the childhood diseases are “often deadly”. Lady, you should really do some research from sources other than the CDC, maybe some foreign Morbidity and Mortality reports, or some other place that has no vested interests and does not consist of fear-mongers and vaccine pushers, before you start writing about the dangers of childhood diseases. Shame on you. Everyone in my family had most of those diseases and some more, and everyone is just fine, while you have no immunity for anything. I feel for you and your children as you have them, w/o providing them with the immunity they should get from their mother for the first 6 months of life, when it’s most important. I also feel for you when you become old and will be in constant danger of dying from some minor childhood thing like a Chicken Pox, just because your Chicken Pox vaccination immunity would have worn out by then. If you don’t believe the vaccine immunity wanes, call the vaccine manufacturers and ask them exactly how long their vaccine immunity is good for. Bet, they’ll tel 4-7 years, or maybe they don’t even know. Anyhow, if I were you, I’d do some more research before trying to “make a difference”.

  3. Vanessa on

    @Lorraine Thanks for the vote!

    @Anonymous Your comment may have had a greater impact if you had not resorted to an ad hominem attack.

    I have read the research on vaccination. You should try reading some valid scientific research published in scientific journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, the Lancet and other that require similar scientific rigor. Many childhood diseases such as measles and chicken pox are deadly. WHO found almost 200,000 deaths worldwide due to measles in 2007. It is one of the leading causes of death for children under the age of five.

    Source: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs286/en/

    Vaccines have some side effects as virtually every drug prescribed has. These possible side effects, which include a slight fever and soreness at the injection site, are rare. In comparison to the effects of common childhood diseases such as measles, tetanus, polio and others.

    Vaccines have nothing to do with the immunity that infants have for the first six months of life. The infant’s immune system has the same antibodies that the mother possesses.

    Chicken pox immunity can fade whether it is received from a vaccine or from actually having the disease. My father had both chicken pox and shingles. It is one of the quirks of the virus. The chicken pox vaccine is given to spare children of both the discomfort and the possibility of shingles developing.

    As for other research, please read the following articles that you can read through Google Scholar:

    Childhood Vaccine Development: An Overview.
    Pediatric Research. 55(2):347-356, February 2004.

    Ensuring vaccine safety in immunization programmes — a WHO perspective
    Vaccine, Volume 19, Issues 13-14, 8 February 2001, Pages 1594-1605
    L. Jodar, P. Duclos, J. B. Milstien, E. Griffiths, M. T. Aguado and C. J. Clements

    Challenges and Controversies in Immunization Safety
    Infectious Disease Clinics of North America
    Volume 15, Issue 1, 1 March 2001, Pages 21-39
    Robert T. Chen MD, MA*, Frank DeStefano MD, MPH*, Robert Pless MD*, Gina Mootrey DO, MPH*, Piotr Kramarz MD* and Beth Hibbs RN, MPH*

    A global perspective on vaccine safety
    Vaccine, Volume 22, Issues 15-16, 7 May 2004, Pages 2059-2063
    Philippe Duclos

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