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Halima Aso (left), mother of 8 and member of the Women’s Federation, Berhale District, Ethiopia

“After I received training, I started working with the Women’s Forum teaching the benefits of immunization. At the training session, we mainly focused on the need to ‘clear away’ the bad misconceptions around immunization – that vaccines are safe and can protect against many killer diseases.

Once I’d received this training, I went back to my village and organized another small meeting with sub-Kebele women’s forum members, where I told them everything I’d learned at my training session. They then talked to their local network, which consists of 1-5 members. So in this way, what is told at District level, will be extended and messages will reach everyone.

One of the misperceptions is that vaccines will bring infertility to women, and also it is believed that if the child receives a vaccine, that child will become paralyzed. These were the beliefs. After working hard with Health Extension Workers and Social Mobilization Committee members, these beliefs are changing.

Now there is a huge improvement – almost all are getting immunized. These beliefs are being solved.  Going back some years, there are so many sad stories – I cannot tell you in one day, it will take a long time to recount this. There are many lives claimed from measles outbreaks, even my own child died from measles. Most families would have lost at least one child like this. My relatives, my neighbors, they all lost children. Sometimes, even 5-6 children at one time. This was normal life – it wasn’t just my daughter, it happened to every family.

No question, having lost my own daughter to measles is one reason for why I joined the Women’s Federation. I feel pain when remembering the past, but it makes me happy to be part of creating a different future.”

Read more about the project in which Halima is involved here .


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