It takes a lot for me to leave my family behind for a week like I did to go to Uganda. Actually, it was the only time I’ve ever done it, sparked by an URGENT matter.  Did you know that every 20 seconds a child dies from a vaccine-preventable disease?
Doesn’t sound pressing enough?
Well how about some math…:
Shot@Life 28 Days World Moms Blog 2
In the time it takes for the Shot@Life 28 Days of Impact campaign to run through the blogosphere, statistically,120,960 children will succumb to vaccine-preventable deaths in the developing world.
And February is the shortest month.
That is 1.5 MILLION children in a year will die a death that we could have helped prevent for a few bucks. Yes, a few bucks, even just one buck, in some cases. It’s so simple.  
Last October I left my family for a week and flew to Uganda with a delegation from the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign.  Having the chance to meet incredible UNICEF and health workers on the ground, such as Miriam Lwanga and Edward, I got to speak openly and one-on-one about infectious disease and Ugandan culture. The delegation was there to observe UNICEF’s Family health days, which involved dozens of community health volunteers, trying to make a difference in their communities and succeeding.
Jennifer Burden of World Moms Blog and Felicia Hilbert of Mom Congress with families at a UNICEF Family Health day in Kabarole, Uganda. Photo credit Stuart Ramson/UN Foundation October 2012.

Jennifer Burden of World Moms Blog and Felicia Hilbert of Mom Congress with families at a UNICEF Family Health day in Kabarole, Uganda. Photo credit Stuart Ramson/UN Foundation October 2012.

Just a few weeks ago, I spent a few more days away in Washington, D.C. lobbying on Capitol Hill for vaccines and global health and helping to rally a group of my nation’s most enthusiastic activists from around the U.S.. They are the most recent graduating class of amazing Shot@Life Champions!
100 Shot@Life Champions took on Capitol Hill and lobbied for global vaccinations in February 2013.  Photo Credit UN Foundation.

100 Shot@Life Champions took on Capitol Hill and lobbied for global vaccinations in February 2013. Photo Credit UN Foundation.

As a stay-at-home mom in the U.S. my daughters get me almost all year around the clock. As a member of the World Moms Blog community, I volunteered at least 10 days this year to the children of the mothers I share this planet with. It’s painful for me to leave my own children behind for a moment. It’s not a birthday for them either. But yet, I can’t see how we, as moms, cannot be doing what we can, given the overwhelming desperate statistics on child survival.
Just because we don’t see it, doesn’t mean that it is not happening.
And by the way, it’s just not Americans and moms who are championing these global vaccine initiatives.  Meet Mohammad Ismail, a 32-year old dad and polio survivor in Afghanistan. He lost both his legs to the disease when the vaccine wasn’t available in his country. He is jobless with three children, but he dedicates his time to educate his village on the importance of vaccinations.
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Mohammad does not want to see another child have to go through what he has gone through.  Commendable!
So, join World Moms Blog, Mohammad, over 400 Shot@Life Champions and over 190,000 people signed up in support of Shot@Life in standing up for the children on our planet without a voice, who are not getting the life-saving medicine that we can help make available for them to allow for their survival. With your help, we can all ensure a child’s Shot@Life.

The impact of vaccines on the lives of children around the world is incredible. Now, you can help sustain the impact by sending an email to your member of congress. Welcome your members to the 113th Congress and ask them to make sure that global health and vaccines are a priority in the new Congress. Take action and make an impact!

This story comes from the World Health Organization- Afghanistan and is part of Shot@Life’s ’28 Days of Impact’ Campaign. A follow up to Blogust to raise awareness for global vaccines and the work being done by Shot@Life and their partners to help give children around the world a shot at a healthy life. Each day in February, you can read another impactful story on global childhood vaccines. Tomorrow, don’t miss Tiany Davis’s post at Social Savvy Mom! Go to www.shotatlife.org/impact to learn more.  

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Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post, ONE.org, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

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