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Saving lives through disease prevention

Vaccinations at an SOS Medical Centre
Vaccinations at an SOS Medical Centre

Millions of children around the world are at risk of dying from preventable diseases. SOS Children are coordinating vital immunisation programmes in the countries we work in, saving the lives of vulnerable children and creating healthy communities for the future.

Vaccinations can quickly, easily and cheaply prevent deadly diseases. Today, the Global Alliance on Vaccinations and Immunisation (GAVI), led by David Cameron and Bill Gates, have called on countries to increase their global aid commitment to vaccinations by an extra £2.3 billion, enough to save four million lives over the next four years.

Diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, pneumonia and diarrhoeal infections are key causes of childhood mortality. On average, a child in Africa dies every 30 seconds from malaria and two million under-fives die from pneumonia alone each year. Outbreaks of infectious diseases quickly spread amongst densly populated urban communities, as well as rural areas where medical care is less readily available.

SOS Children have 68 Medical Centres across the world, supporting over 800,000 children. Many of our facilities offer comprehensive immunisation programmes to families in the local community. We also provide disease prevention programmes as part of our Emergency Relief operations when necessary. Here are just a few examples of the life saving treatments we are providing across the world:

Chennai, India:

With a significant slum population and inadequate public health provisions, disease is commonplace in Chennai. The SOS Medical Centre here supports over 6,000 children in the city every year, offering free vaccinations for children. In addition, SOS medical camps located in the surrounding communities offer tuberculosis screening and vaccinations for 30,000 people.

Dassa-Zoumè, Benin:

The SOS Medical Centre in Dassa-Zoumè offers vaccinations against infections including tetanus and hepatitis B to families from the community, as well as those from the nearby SOS Children’s Village. In the midst of a yellow fever epidemic in 2009, the centre operated a vaccination campaign in partnership with the government, offering protection from one of the world's most deadly diseases.

Medical centre vaccinations

Hargeisa, Somaliland

The SOS Social and Medical Centre is the most modern clinic in Hargeisa. It is primarily a mother and child clinic, offering ante and post natal care.  Somaliland has lowest coverage of immunisation in the world and SOS are committed to improving this. The centre runs an 'under fives' programme in partnership with UNICEF, offering free immunisation and regular check-ups.

Anangpur, India

Due to high illiteracy rates and poverty in Anangpur, parents are often not aware of the difference immunisation makes. SOS established a paediatric camp where staff provided educational workshops for parents to educate them about the importance of vaccinating their children. Babies and children were offered free immunisations at the camp, which many families would not have been able to afford otherwise.

The recent issue of our newsletter, Family Matters focused on the medical care SOS Children provide for communities around the world. You can read this online here, or find out more about the difference our medical facilities make here.