The Vax4Vax initiative is based on the very simple idea of making a small contribution to helping out our fellow human beings, those who are the most vulnerable. There are many people who are living without access to clean water and enough food, let alone adequate health care and life saving vaccinations. It is via the Vax4Vax program that we are aiming to help alleviate this global issue and change the fact that one in four children under five years of age die as a result of vaccine preventable diseases. We have the solution. We have the answer. We just need to get it to the people who need it most.
As a Travel Health Plus initiative, a portion of the costs from each vaccination administered onsite in the Fremantle clinic is given to the Vax4Vax initiative. The Vax4Vax initiative is currently supporting UNICEF Australia’s Champion’s for Children Program with funds being used to protect children against deadly diseases such as rotavirus, measles or polio. UNICEF’s health programs prevent and protect children against disease as well as encourage positive hygiene and safe drinking water practices within communities.
"There are few things which yield greater benefits for health than vaccinations," says Vax4Vax founder, Dr David Rutherford.
"By reducing the frequency of vaccine preventable illnesses and the resulting complications in developing countries, it is shown to improve lives and reduce poverty in those countries."
"The whole initiative is about prevention; getting the right vaccinations, medications, and tools to the most at-risk areas," explains Dr Rutherford.
Why UNICEF? Formed in 1946, after WW11, The United Nations International Childhood Emergency Fund, was set up to deliver emergency health care, including immunisations, to displaced and disadvantaged children around the world. The work UNICEF has been doing via their immunisation program is very highly regarded and aligns with the Vax4Vax values and aims. "UNICEF is an independent, secular organisation which is dependent on external funding, and we are happy to be one of the funding streams giving them the ability to continue their work." Their work now is as relevant as it was then.
Dr David Rutherford is a highly regarded medical professional who has dedicated his career to travel medicine and preventative health. David completed his medical training in the UK, and used the time and proximity to travel widely. Spending time in Zambia and Zimbabwe opened his eyes to a very different and unequal world. It was this experience and through further travel which sparked a reaction in David and he then dedicated his career to working in travel medicine and children's refugee health.
"On one hand, I try to prevent illness for travellers and on the other I see the direct effects of vaccine preventable illness and the impact it can have," says Dr Rutherford. "My goal with the Vax4Vax initiative is to create a link between the two areas, to raise awareness of the benefits of immunisation for travellers, whilst at the same time making a contribution to help reduce vaccine preventable illness for all."