2014 Pampers and UNICEF “1 pack = 1 vaccine” campaign- Story of the Week: Elise Razakarisoa

UNICEF /MADAGASCAR/PAMPERS AND UNICEF CAMPAIGN/JORDI MATAS/2014
UNICEF /MADAGASCAR/PAMPERS AND UNICEF CAMPAIGN/JORDI MATAS/2014

Elise Razakarisoa, 50, community health worker in Andramonina village, Madagascar.

Elise is a community health worker in the rural village of Andramonina, situated in the highlands of central Madagascar and around 5km from the nearest health centre. Selected by the people in her village to become a community health worker, Elise is a well-known and trusted member of her community. Since 2008, she has been supporting women and children on all health issues including raising awareness of vaccination campaigns against Maternal and Newborn Tetanus, supported by the Pampers and UNICEF “1 pack + 1 vaccine” campaign.

Elise covers a radius of 4km, walking door-to-door to advise women, mothers and mothers-to-be in her community of the importance of life-saving vaccines against fatal diseases such as Maternal and Newborn Tetanus. She is passionate and committed to helping women and their newborns stay healthy. Every month she attends a meeting at the nearest health centre, 1.5 hours walk from her home, to make sure that every pregnant mother in her village has received the vaccines against Maternal and Newborn Tetanus during the required stages of pregnancy. If a pregnant woman has missed a vaccine, Jocelyne will visit her house and encourage her to attend the next vaccination day at the centre, often accompanying her there.

As a community-member for all of her life and mother of two, Elise has seen and experienced the challenges that women in the rural villages face, including lengthy journeys along uneven terrain to the nearest health facility, which can force women to give birth at home in unsanitary conditions with only a traditional birthing attendant present.

The most challenging element of her role is how far she has to walk, sometimes in treacherous rain, to reach the homes of the women and children she is visiting. But this never stops her from fulfilling her role as she believes it is a small sacrifice to make for such a worthwhile and critical cause.

The Pampers and UNICEF “1 pack + 1 vaccine” campaign has funded vaccination programmes in Madagascar helping to eliminate the disease across the country. Despite helping to eliminate Maternal and Newborn Tetanus in a total of 15 countries, including Madagascar, there are still an estimated 100 million women and their newborns in 24 countries who are still at risk from the fatal disease.