Lions Clubs mobilise for World Immunization Week

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Advocacy toolkit launched to help Health Ministries spread the word about vaccination against measles and rubella in developing countries

Lions Club WIW

Lions in Kenya educate mothers on the importance of immunisation during World Immunization Week 2014.
Credit: Lions Clubs/2014.

Geneva, 24 April 2015 - Lions Clubs International will mark World Immunization Week by providing its extensive network of volunteers in Africa and South Asia with an advocacy toolkit to help raise awareness of measles and rubella immunisation programmes.

From 24-30 April, the toolkit will help a series of national Lions Clubs support African Health Ministries’ to mobilise local communities against two potentially deadly infectious diseases.

Measles kills about 160,000 people annually, and remains one of the top vaccine-preventable killers of children under age five; rubella (German measles) infection occurring just before conception and early pregnancy can result in foetal death or birth defects known as Congenital Rubella Syndrome.

What’s happening and where

Activities in a series of countries, including Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Uganda and Zambia will include press briefings, advertising campaigns and door to door advocacy:

  • Kenya: in Nairobi, the Lions are planning measles and rubella campaign launch events at the Kibera health center and the M.P. Shah Hospital, as well as four more in other cities;
  • Uganda: local Lions are preparing radio advertisements as well as several talk show appearances, newspaper advertisement, and advocacy breakfasts;
  • Zambia: 100 "foot soldiers" will carry out house to house awareness raising activities. The First lady of Zambia, who is a Lion member, will be part of the regional launch of World Immunization Week.

Lions Clubs, which make-up the world’s largest service club organisation, work closely with Health Ministries in developing countries to ensure children are vaccinated against measles and rubella. By deploying its network of 1.35 million volunteers, national Lions Clubs play a key role in grassroots efforts to mobilise local leaders and communities to ensure no children miss out on life-saving vaccination sessions.

Gavi and Lions Clubs International have been working together since 2013 to help protect tens of millions of children in the world’s poorest countries against measles. Under the partnership, Lions will deploy its volunteers to raise US$30 million by 2017, when Lions Clubs celebrates its 100th anniversary. The funds will be matched by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, bringing the total raised for Gavi to US$ 60 million.

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