Thanks to the wonderful Liz Scarff and along with Chris Mosler and Lindsay Atkin, I was privileged to see first-hand, just some of the work being done to save millions of children's lives.
Mozambique is an incredible place but after a history that left the country wracked with deprivation and poverty, so many people there are fighting the odds. Unfortunately, children are among the worst affected; Mozambique has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world and most of those deaths are from easily preventable diseases.
A year ago, we were using Twitter and other social media, aiming to #passiton, to highlight the need for world leaders to commit funds at the GAVI Summit, in London. The summit took place exactly one year ago today (June 13th) and saw $4.3bn pledged by the UK, the Gates Foundation and countries from around the world.
This plugged the gap that had developed in the funding and risked the very existence of GAVI's programme of vaccination. In real terms, it meant that 4 million children's lives were saved.
Looking to the future, it now means that 8.5 MILLION children in up to nineteen countries, by the end of the year, will be protected against preventable childhood illnesses, such as pneumonia and diarrhoea. Tragically, these diseases are to blame for almost a third of all child deaths across the globe. That statistic will now change; children will be saved, thanks to the world leaders pledging these vital funds.
Save the Children scrutinised every pledge, making certain that every world leader stepped up to the plate and kept their promise.
Justin Forsyth, Chief Executive of Save the Children said:
“Commitments made at summits are often treated with a healthy dose of scepticism. But our research shows that one year on from the London Vaccines summit, every single donor has kept their promise.
“We believe that in the last 12 months, up to a million children could have been saved by this UK-led initiative, showing the power that life-saving aid can have. The Prime Minister and Secretary of State for International Development deserve real credit for their leadership on this.”What is essential now, is for us all to make sure this issue remains in the spotlight. So that children in developing nations get the same standards of health care that we are fortunate to take for granted for our own children. Whilst our children are just a short trip away from a Doctor or hospital should they get ill, children in countries like Mozambique are often days away from medical assistance. This is why vaccines are so essential for these children.
I am incredibly proud to have been part of the #passiton campaign and even more proud of what we achieved - reaching millions of people and making sure the issue became a globally recognised issue. Remember, #VaccinesWork!
You can see my video diaries of the trip, produced in Mozambique by the very talented Mike Sunderland, for ITV and We Are Barnsley, here and here. My blogposts, written during the trip, are available via the below links:
#Passiton - Mums in Mozambique
Into Africa; Barnsley to Mozambique
Have Vaccines Will Travel
No Child Born to Die