Long thought by most people to belong to the bad old days of polio and smallpox, measles is making a resurgence in Canada, due to complacency in the public about vaccinations. Almost daily we hear of new outbreaks.
If the people of the world knew about this, I have no doubt they would slap us upside the head, and ask us what our problem is. Because unlike us, many millions have no access to vaccines for themselves or their children, and live in constant fear of diseases that could easily be prevented. Diseases we never have to think about.
A few years ago at a convention in Muskoka, Ontario, Prime Minister Stephen Harper pledged significant funding for child and maternal health initiatives. The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) is the premier global deliverer of vaccines throughout the world, and they are approaching funding renewal.
As part of Muskoka, Canada has been a key donor to GAVI, and it’s critical that we renew or increase our funding share, especially as our aid levels are far below other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries.
In late May, Mr. Harper will be hosting a Child and Maternal Health summit, and I hope he takes this opportunity to boost GAVI funding. For even if many of us turn our backs on vaccines, people around the world will gladly accept them.