One of the poorest countries in the world, and still recovering from the devastation inflicted by the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia has few immunization efforts that reach children in small rural villages. Its child mortality rate is among the world's highest. An estimated 40,000 Cambodian children die annually of easily preventable diseases. The Sharing Foundation seeks funds to immunize rural village children against Hepatitis B, diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, all potentially fatal illnesses.
This gift will provide a child in the village of Roteang with the opportunity to grow up healthy so s/he can attend school and develop skills that may offer a route out of subsistence poverty. The child will receive the Hepatitis B and DPT (under age 6) or DT (ages 6 - 18) vaccines (three shots each) at three intervals, eight weeks apart, followed by needed booster shots six months later. Roteang villagers have seen the consequences of lack of immunization: recently, both the school principal and the village chief died from Hepatitis B. This is TSF's second effort to provide first-ever immunizations for this village. In 2003, TSF vaccinated 1,159 children--one third of the population of 3,304--for Hepatitis B, DT/DPT, and oral polio. This year, TSF has launched a second round of immunizations for children who were born in the village, or who have moved there, since the 2003 initiative.