Immunizing border residents of the Americas, including the US-Mexico
border region, will be a focus of the of this year's Vaccination Week in the Americas sponsored by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Scheduled to kick off on Saturday, April 19, the week-long immunization
drive is expected to draw tens of thousands of volunteers from 44 countries. According to a press statement from PAHO, the goal for 2008 is to vaccinate 62 million children, adult and elderly persons in order to
prevent deaths and illnesses from measles, polio, rotovirus and other diseases.
"We are consolidating a true participatory culture for prevention throughout the Anericas," said PAHO Director Dr. Mirta Roses.
Mass vaccinations are planned for the border regions of Mexico-Guatemala, Honduras-Nicaragua, Brazil-Guyana and Colombia-Brazil, among other places. In the Paso del Norte area of Texas, New Mexico and Chihuahua, PAHO
Director Dr. Roses is scheduled to participate in a caravan that will depart from Sunland Park, New Mexico, for El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. Other high Mexican and US healthcare officials are invited to the local event.
Now in its sixth year, Vaccination Week in the Americas has distributed vaccines to more than 195 million people in 45 countiries and territories, according to the PAHO.
"Despite its growth as an internacional phenomenon, the initiative has
remained focused on the orginal goal of reaching the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach communities and indigenous groups, people living in border areas, and geographically isolated communities, which are often left
behind in nacional immunization campaigns," the group said.
Founded in 1902, the PAHO defines its mission as improving heathcare in all the countries of the Americas. Regionally, the organization serves as
the Americas office of the World Health Organization.
Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news Center for Latin American and Border Studies New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, New Mexico