The Journey of a Vaccine

October 12, 2010

Life-and-death decisions are not usually made by a mother buying nappies on a suburban high street. She may not even know that the choice could set in motion a complicated chain of events, stretching around the world, that will directly affect other women, such as Madame Akam Justine, who swats away mosquitos to deliver scores of babies on the floor of her small brick home in a remote village in Cameroon.

The work of women like Madame Justine, a traditional birth attendant favoured by women too poor, or far away, to use a hospital, is often makeshift, rudimentary and tainted by tragic conclusions. It has also never been higher on the international agenda. Reducing maternal and child mortality is one of the key UN Millennium Development Goals, and what works best is vaccination against epidemic diseases.

In Cameroon Madame Justine is preparing to play her part in a global vaccination campaign by Unicef to er… [more]

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