GENEVA – If you want to know the value of vaccines, just spend some time in a clinic in Africa. The faces of the mothers and fathers say it all: vaccines prevent illness and save lives.
But what these parents probably do not realize is that the story does not end there. As they leave the clinic and head home, they have already taken steps to improve not just their child’s health, but also his or her educational prospects and long-term future. What’s more, they will have also helped to improve their own lives and enhance the economic prospects of their wider community.
The reasons are simple. We know that children who are healthier do not require medical treatment or care, both of which cost time and money. So, by avoiding illness, infants have a greater chance of growing into healthier children who are able to attend school and become more productive members of society.
Meanwhile, instead of caring for a sick child, parents can work, thereby increasing their ability to earn. So, rather than spending money on medical bills, they are boosting their income and spending capacity, both of which help the economy to grow.