September Update

News on our progress:

Adam has been officially named a Citizen Ambassador to the United Nations and will be in New York for World UN Day in October (just prior to Ghana’s inoculation campaign).  He is honored to receive this recognition and is hopeful it will lend volume to our efforts to raise awareness about the need for vaccinations (and continued funding thereof) in the developing world.

Our Kickstarter push successfully achieved its goal and we are currently awaiting the fund transfer.  Thanks so much to everyone who made it possible, this funding will really help us expand the travel possibilities for our measles documentary.

Adam and Miranda have been in Ghana for about 2 weeks now and are settling in nicely.  They are both regularly blogging their observations and exploits (see the “blogs” tab under the navigation) for those who are curious on more timely updates.

Recent worldwide measles news:

The WHO is predicting as many as 350,000 cases of measles after the recent flooding in Pakistan.  UNICEF is now on the ground doing inoculations, and 350,000 in just the Swat valley alone are expected to be immunized.  The UAE Red Crescent Authority also just entered the mix, agreeing to help vaccinate 850,000 Pakistani children between 6 months and 5 years against measles (second article here).

Elsewhere in Asia UNICEF just finished with the 100 million child immunization push in China, which took place over just 9 days, and cover all children between 8 months and 14 years!  (And so far of the first 50 million vaccinations, only 400 reactions were reported, mostly rash)  Update: an interesting (if only speculation-filled) article came across my e-mail box, alledging parents concerned about vaccines may be buying fraudulent certificates rather than vaccinating their children.

This year Malawi’s epidemic has now crested 77,000 cases according to Reuters.  Zambia’s outbreak appears to be tapering off (inferred by looking at reports from a Lusaka hospital), and Nigeria is in the midst of both cholera and measles outbreaks, with a ten-fold rise in measles cases since last year.  Lastly, measles is ravaging Zimbabwe again, killing 77 children in the last two weeks (the childrens’ families are members of a religious group that often refuses vaccination — ed note: we usually see this group referred to as the Seventh Day Apostolic, and should not be confused with Seventh Day Adventists).

And following Jimmy Carter and Kofi Annan’s recent editorial the mainstream press in the United States seems to be taking some notice — MSNBC carried a Reuters article about measles on their front page.

There’s also an interesting article that popped up proposing using off-grid cellphone towers to maintain cold-chain for measles (and other) vaccines.  If these vaccines rise above 40C in temperture they lose much (and eventually all) of their potency, so cold-chain is the number one issue facing containment of certain vaccine-preventable diseases (polio, measles, etc).

Lastly, Jamaica and Fiji are both reporting 90% vaccination coverage amongst their youth, taking them one step closer to universal immunization.  Good job, Jamaica and Fiji!

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