How Mothers Became the Driving Force Behind Immunization Efforts in Zambia

These tough mothers are giving babies a shot at life.

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mother and child in zambia

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I traveled to Zambia with the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life team with a goal: to see the work being done to provide locals with immunizations and other healthcare. The results were clear – mothers of the community are the driving force. Over the course of my trip I had the opportunity to speak to some of the incredible moms that benefit from services at local health clinics. These conversations reminded me of the relentless and universal power that is a mother’s drive to give her child a full and prosperous life.

The Simonga Clinic outside of Livingstone, Zambia serves more than 5,000 people within four zones. Made of cement, the clinic with three-to-four rooms has basic electricity and little equipment. They do, however, have a vaccine fridge. While they provide wellness checkups and even deliver babies, immunizations are very important here.

A mother and her child wait outside the Simonga Clinic in Zambia.

Many women living in the Maululu Clinic area in Simonga, Zambia are taught to be seen and not heard. However, the message they send when they walk for hours to get their children immunized speaks volumes. These mothers are focused on how they can change and save their children’s lives.

Jelina, 23, and her eldest daughter Maria, 3.

Jelina makes sure her children receive all immunizations as she wants to protect their futures. Her hopes for her children are that they will become educated and maybe become nurses.

Prisca, a mother of seven, only became educated about family planning after the first four children were born

“My dream for my children is that they become educated — it is a real opportunity for success.” Prisca sees immunizing her children as opening the door to this possibility: “When your children are immunized, they are healthy and free from disease.”

Helen with her 8-month-old daughter, Albertina

Helen is 25 years old and has two girls named Lucky and Albertina. Living 18 kilometers away, Helen must come early in the morning to avoid the elephants, which, aside from transportation, are one of the biggest challenges in Zambia. Helen brought both of her girls to the Simonga Clinic for their immunizations. She told us, “It is an important way for me to protect my children.”

Petronella with her 3-year-old daughter Victoria.

Petronella dreams of a future for her children that includes medicine, law, and education. This is why Petronella makes sure all of her children have been immunized.

A Simonga Clinic nurse provides check-ups and immunizations to a group of mothers and their children.

All photos courtesy of Amelia Old

Amelia Old is an award-winning former international talent agent. She is the owner of Passports from the Heart where she shares her love for travel and philanthropy. She hopes to encourage individuals and families to not only travel, but also immerse themselves in the cultures of the places they are visiting and open their arms to the communities by making a lasting impact while there.

Amelia was recently named one of the 2017 50 Most Influential Women by the Mecklenburg Times. She serves as Shot@Life Champion, a Ambassador, a ONE Volunteer, and is a strong supporter of Cancer for College. She is currently a member of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association, Travel Bloggers Influencer Network, and the International Travel Writers Alliance.

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