Fauzia understands the value of immunisations. When she was a child, she remembers being protected from a measles outbreak because she had been vaccinated. But she knows this was not a luxury her parents had, as vaccines were not widely accessible when they were young. As a result, they were more at risk of catching deadly, yet preventable, diseases like measles and polio.
“At the time my parents were born, they were not getting vaccinations but by the time I was born, we got them. It was very important because at that time, in the place we were living, people were suffering from measles. But because we were vaccinated we didn’t suffer from that disease.”
Comic Relief has funded the GAVI Alliance since 2012, helping the organisation ensure children across the globe receive life-saving vaccines. In 2016, Comic Relief partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to award GAVI £4 million to supply three vaccines (pentavalent, pneumococcal and rotavirus) to hundreds of thousands of children in several African countries. As a result of these efforts, childhood vaccinations are now widely accessible in countries like Ghana, and people like Fauzia and her daughter, Rabi, were immunised from birth.
“When Rabi was born, she had vaccinations in the first week, and at six weeks they gave her more. I am happy if children are vaccinated to protect them from disease. The vaccinations protect us from diseases like measles and yellow fever.”
Rabi is a happy five-month-old girl and Fauzia likes to tell other parents about the importance of immunising their children, so they can also grow up to be strong and healthy.
“I think vaccinations are good. My daughter is doing well. I like to tell people that, so they’ll be interested in getting vaccinations for their children.”
Almost half of all child deaths, across the world, are due to preventable, infectious diseases. Most countries have now introduced immunisation programmes, but many children are still not vaccinated adequately.
The GAVI Alliance brings together all the major players in global immunisation, from UN agencies to leaders within the vaccine industry. Comic Relief has funded the GAVI Alliance since 2012, helping them to provide live-saving vaccines to hundreds of thousands of children across Africa.