I’m not only doing this challenge of living on $1.50 a day, I’ve been asked to accompany the UN Foundation Shot@Life folks on a trip to Tanzania starting May 18-23 where I will see first hand many of the issues moms and their children are dealing with. I’m thrilled to have been asked, but I know it’s going to be a life-changing event.
It’s Day Two of the Live Below The Line challenge and I am already experiencing the hunger so many people are dealing with around the world–1.4 billion in total. And hunger is not the only issue as with lack of food comes lack of nutrition, which leads to health issues. And the health issues lead to inability of children to grow and develop and learn in school and they are the ones will be looked upon to lead countries, build businesses and more. It’s a whole tangled mess of inter-related issues.
I’m in the process of getting my Visa and my shots. I had to consult my doctors first because I have an autoimmune disease and a compromised immune system. I will go off my current medication to be able to take the shots I need to make this trip. I will need shots like typhoid, yellow fever, hepatitis A, polio, tetanus, and pills for malaria. Do we think about getting vaccinations for things like this in America? Hepatitis A maybe. Polio definitely. Tetanus is no big deal. But never yellow fever or typhoid. This is kind of scary, right?
Even now because of misinformation, American families are choosing to not vaccinate. But we’re starting to see diseases return we thought were long gone. In 2011, we saw the most measles cases in the U.S. then we’ve seen in 15 years. And do you want to know the scariest part? Our doctors don’t know how to recognize many of them because the diseases have been gone for so long. And if you think measles is nothing to worry about, think again. It is extremely infectious and can be transmitted by coughs and sneezes before the rash appears. Even with the state-of-the-art treatment available in the US. three of every 1,000 people who contract measles will die. It isn’t hard to imagine how much bigger this issue is in third world countries who don’t have access to the resources we have. A child dies every 20 seconds from diseases like measles, pneumonia, polio and diarrhea, which are all things we know how to prevent.
And I’m going to Tanzania to see the problems not on TV or in a magazine or online, but first hand. I’m hoping I will be able to convey the realities in a way that will bring it to life.
While traveling with the UN, I will also be meeting with health care officials from UNICEF. I will be taken to hospitals and to Bagamoyo and Dar es Salaam.
But I will be traveling fully vaccinated, unlike many of the people I will meet.