IN KENYA AND ELSEWHERE, ANXIOUS MOTHERS FIRST NOTICE THEIR CHILD HAS A FEVER, OFTEN ACCOMPANIED BY A COUGH, RED EYES AND A RUNNY NOSE. A BAD COLD? A COMMONPLACE VIRUS THAT WILL RUN ITS COURSE? WHAT COMES NEXT IS UNSETTLING: SMALL WHITE SPOTS INSIDE THE CHEEKS. LCIF needs the support of Lions to protect millions of children from measles. The next stage of the illness makes parents frantic. A rash—small, red, slightly raised spots—erupts on the face and then threateningly spreads behind the ears, along the hairlines, over the arms and trunk and down the thighs and lower legs. Parents are helpless. The symptoms of measles can be alleviated, but the only effective treatment is prevention. Ravaging the immune system, measles is sometimes fatal. Those that survive can suffer blindness, deafness and brain damage. Each day, on average, more than 400 people, mostly children, die of measles, the leading cause of death for children under age 5. An immunization, costing a little more than $1 when done on a large scale, prevents measles. Partnering with others, Lions have supported millions of immunizations and saved lives since 2010. Measles deaths worldwide plunged by 79 percent between 2000 and 2014. Still, millions of children have not been immunized yet. LCIF seeks further support from Lions. It’s a simple formula with life-and-death implications: donate to LCIF to support immunizations to save children’s lives. “The support of Lions already has accomplished amazing things in fighting measles,” says Dr. Jitsuhiro Yamada, the LCIF chairperson. “But more money is needed because our work is only partially done. Lions have always lived up to their commitment. We want to be there when measles is eradicated.” Lions and LCIF unveiled a commitment to provide $30 million to fight measles for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance at the 2013 international convention. LCIF has provided $17.5 million toward that commitment with the rest needed by December 2017. Financial support will be matched equally by Gavi through a fund established largely by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development. The Measles and Rubella Initiative expects to protect 700 million children in 49 nations against measles and rubella by 2020. Immunization campaigns often must overcome barriers of fear and ignorance. Parents and village leaders incorrectly suspect vaccinations are harmful. Or they don’t realize the danger of measles, a highly contagious disease. Lions in 21 nations have provided on-the-ground support for the measles and rubella campaigns, adroitly handling social mobilization and advocacy. They’ve backed 35 measles campaigns and national immunization weeks. Lions use posters, rallies, workshops and even vehicle motorcades to get people’s attention about the need for immunizations. Bullhorns in hand, Lions even have stood on street corners and in public squares to spread the word. Join the fight at LCIF.org/measles
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