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The fight against fatal childhood diseases in Haiti gets a boost

Repeating Islands

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A report by Jacqueline Charles for the Miami Herald.

In Haiti, 69 children out of every 1,000 born alive still die before their fifth birthday. And many of those deaths are from diseases that are preventable by vaccination.

Still, the country has one of the lowest immunization rates — 58 percent — in the hemisphere.

“You don’t really need bricks and mortar to immunize a child. You can immunize a child under a tree,” said Anuradha Gupta, deputy CEO of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, or Gavi. “It takes really very little.”

Worried about Haiti’s low immunization coverage and high child mortality rate, Gupta will lead a three-day mission to Port-au-Prince on Tuesday to push Haiti’s new government to increase its budget for immunizations and health. Gupta will be joined by representatives from other health-financing donor groups including the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization, UNICEF and…

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