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Since 2000, UNICEF has supported the vaccination of 440 million children in the world’s poorest countries, saving an estimated six million lives. (Photo: © UNICEF NYHQ2015-1149 Bindra)

When you get your flu vaccine at UHN this year, you're providing two critical items to children in developing countries: clean water and an essential vaccine.

We're working with UNICEF Canada this year to make every flu shot count:

  1. Every time a UHN staff member receives a flu shot, UHN will donate one essential vaccine to a child in need.
  2. For every 50 flu vaccines received by UHN staff, UHN will be donating water purification tablets to provide clean water for 1 child in need for up to 5 months.

 
The impact of clean water initiatives

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UNICEF works in more than 100 countries to bolster water and sanitation services, basic hygiene practices and to boost resilience in emerg​encies. (Photo: © UNICEF NYHQ2015-1862 Gilbertson VII​)

Fouré Moussa from the village of Bara Bangou in Niger is seen balancing a large plastic container of water atop her head, while her husband and five children sit nearby.

Ms. Moussa fetches water from a borehole that is two kilometres away and serves over 400 families. She says it is worth the walk because, prior to the borehole being drilled, the villagers drew water from ponds, many of them suffered from disease, and children were regularly becoming ill.

We talked to Jillian Costas, Development Coordinator at UNICEF Canada, to discuss how UHN's flu campaign initiatives are helping children around the world.

What is the impact of clean water on a community?

Improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene can greatly reduce the incidence of major illnesses such as diarrhea, pneumonia, cholera, polio stunting and impaired cognitive function. Since 1990, 2.6 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water sources.

However, water and sanitation-related diseases remain among the major causes of death in children under five with nearly 1,000 children dying every day from diarrheal diseases linked to poor water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) conditions.
 
What does UNICEF do to help?

UNICEF works in more than 100 countries to bolster water and sanitation services, basic hygiene practices and to boost resilience in emergencies.

Last year, UNICEF's efforts provided nearly 14 million people with improved drinking water sources and more than 11 million with improved sanitation. In times of crisis, UNICEF's emergency responses benefited 18 million people with drinking water and over four million with sanitation efforts. These achievements demonstrate that change is possible, and that universal access is within reach.
 
How does the water purification tablet work?

Water Purification tablets are safe and effective water disinfectants. A tablet is added to water and left to dissolve for approximately 30 minutes. Once dissolved, one water purification tablet can turn approximately four to five litres of dirty water into clean drinking water.

The impact of vaccines

In Sierra Leone, a young girl receives a measles vaccination from a health worker in Helemorie Village in Tonkolili District. The worker is from a mobile health team supported by UNICEF and partners as part of a nationwide campaign to reach up to 1.5 million children under age five with vital health interventions.

What is the impact of vaccines around the world?

Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective ways to help end preventable child deaths, saving two to three million children each year from deadly childhood diseases like measles, diarrhea and pneumonia.

An estimated 1.5 million children die annually from diseases that can be prevented by currently recommended vaccines.

What does UNICEF do to help?

Since 2000, UNICEF has supported the vaccination of 440 million children in the world's poorest countries, saving an estimated six million lives.

In 2014, UNICEF procured 2.71 billion doses of vaccines and vaccinated over half of the world's children.

This year, UNICEF and the global health community are focused on vaccinating the most marginalized children in the hardest to reach regions.
 
UNICEF's immunization programs focus on:

  1. Purchasing vaccines for more than a third of the world's children
  2. Engaging communities to explain the importance of child vaccinations
  3. Working towards a world without measles, rubella and neonatal tetanus

 
This year, choosing to get the flu vaccination at UHN will help you protect those around you, and will allow a child in need to receive a vaccination.

Let's make every shot count, UHN.

To find out more about the initiatives UNICEF is working on, visit their website.​​

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