28 June 2024

Investments in health and hope

Every child, no matter where they live, has a right to the best health care possible. At the heart of this work, community health workers play a vital role in connecting with families. Whether travelling by foot, boat, caravan or motorcycle, community health workers are reaching children with life-saving vaccines and essential health services in…, Colombia, Esperanza vaccinates a young boy in the community of Marilou. Esperanza vaccinates a young boy in the community of Marilou. Esperanza's local and community connections as a Wayuu help her to create meaningful connections with the indigenous population she serves. In Colombia, a community health worker with deep roots in Wayuu, an indigenous…, India, Two health workers ride on a motorcycle with blue cold coolers, filled with vaccines and health supplies, strapped to the sides. A health worker carries vaccines to the remotest areas carefully stored inside cold boxes. This work ensures that children in Darrang district, India aren't deprived of the routine immunizations. In India, dedicated…, Morocco, A young women speaks with a father about health in Souk Beni Ayat in the Azilal region. In Oct 2023, field workers carried out the project “Community Responsibility for the Prevention of COVID-19 The Promotion of Anti-COVID-19 Vaccination” in partnership between UNICEF and the Tadamoun Association (solidarity) thanks to Canada via Canvax funds. In…, Myanmar, A mother crouches down next to her two young children in Myanmar. Daw Ni Ni, a displaced mother in Kalay, Myanmar poses with her children. Through a pilot initiative supported by UNICEF, she was able to vaccinate her one-year-old for the first time. In Myanmar, amid escalating conflict and insecurity, access to critical health services has become…, Ukraine, A young girl in a pink coat walks outside holding hands with her parents. She looks back at the camera with a smile. A five year old girl walks outdoors with her parents who took part in human-centered immunization sessions supported by UNICEF. In Ukraine, efforts to integrate vaccines into primary healthcare and to train community health workers…
27 June 2024

5 actions for a malaria-free world

Every day over 1,200 children die from malaria, a disease that is both preventable and treatable.   Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted through the bite of an infected female anopheles mosquito. It is one of the leading killers of children under five and disproportionately affects vulnerable communities. Malaria also has severe economic…, 1. Life-saving malaria vaccines, Malaria vaccines represent a breakthrough in protecting the most vulnerable children from severe forms of malaria and even death. With support from UNICEF, 22 countries are preparing to, or are alraedy rolling out these life-saving vaccines. Two malaria vaccines, RTS,S/AS01 and R21/Matrix-M, are considered highly effective, reducing clinical…, 2. Mosquito bed nets, Sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets is one of the most effective ways to prevent malaria transmission. These nets create a protective barrier against mosquito bites during the night, saving countless lives, especially among young children, pregnant women and families living in areas with high rates of transmission.   For decades, UNICEF…, 3. Early malaria diagnosis and treatment, Ensuring access to early malaria diagnosis and effective treatments is critical to child survival, especially in hard-to-reach areas where access to care is challenging.   UNICEF collaborates with governments to provide diagnostic tests and antimalarial medications as part of integrated health care programmes that identify and address a range of…, 4. Community awareness and empowerment, Community awareness and Social and behaviour change social behaviour change is an essential part of malaria prevention and control.  UNICEF works with local leaders and health workers, as well as trusted networks of women, youth, faith groups and schools, to spread awareness about malaria prevention and control: understanding symptoms, seeking…, 5. Partnering for scale, innovation and impact, UNICEF collaborates with other organizations, national governments, local partners and other stakeholders to enhance malaria control efforts. These partnerships enable the sharing of resources, expertise and innovative solutions, like the introduction and scale-up of malaria vaccines. By working together, we can maximize our impact, driving down…
27 June 2024

Digital for zero-dose: Harnessing AI for global health equity

As we commemorate the 50 th anniversary of the Expanded Programme Immunization (EPI), we reflect on the continued role vaccines play in child health and survival. Now, more than ever, it is crucial to reach zero-dose children (children who have yet to receive any vaccines) and to explore innovative strategies to ensure every child is protected. At…, The promise of AI in reaching the unvaccinated, AI and digital technologies can revolutionize immunization and health equity, particularly by identifying and reaching zero-dose children who missed routine vaccines. By leveraging machine learning (ML) and data analytics, we can enhance our understanding of population dynamics, allowing for precise health interventions. UNICEF's Reaching the…, Ethical considerations in the implementation of AI, While the potential benefits of AI for public health are immense, it is essential to prioritize ethical considerations, especially when dealing with vulnerable populations like children. UNICEF is acutely aware of the unique risks associated with the increased use of data and the implementation of AI technologies.  Our approach is twofold:…, Strengthening primary healthcare through digital training, Strengthening primary healthcare (PHC) systems is crucial for addressing and reaching zero-dose children. PHC systems are the first point of contact for most families and are key to immunization campaigns. Training health workers and community health workers in digital technologies is essential for the success of these efforts.   A health care…, Global collaboration and commitment, During the recent G20 meeting I highlighted the critical role of global collaboration in ensuring that every individual has access to their health information in a digital format. The G20 plays a pivotal role in driving this agenda forward and several key steps and policy measures are essential to move the needle on global commitments and…
11 June 2024

Esperanza's road: A tale of hope in La Guajira

June 11 2023 For children in La Guajira, Colombia, hope arrives on a motorcycle. Esperanza is a 37-year-old community health worker with deep roots in Wayuu, an indigenous community in the far north of Colombia. Her name, which means 'hope' in Spanish, embodies her mission to bring better health and brighter futures to the people of her region. La…, Commitment and sacrifice, Esperanza rests in the hammock she uses as a bed while staying at the Paraiso Health Center. Esperanza rests in the hammock she uses as a bed while staying at the Paraiso Health Center. Esperanza’s work consumes much of her life. In the area of Bahía Honda, where the Paraíso Health Centre is located, she is in charge of almost 100 communities,…, A foundation of trust, Esperanza vaccinates a young boy in the community of Marilou. Esperanza vaccinates a young boy in the community of Marilou. Esperanza's local and community connections as a Wayuu help her to create meaningful connections with the indigenous population she serves. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Esperanza's role as a community health worker became…, The crucial work of community health workers, Esperanza Palmar sits at a desk at the Paraíso Health Center. Esperanza Palmar at her workplace in the Paraíso Health Center in northern Colombia, from where she works to administer vaccines in remote communities. The work of vaccinators and community health workers like Esperanza “is important for UNICEF because it is what allows us to see what…