“Every life counts” – Dr. Theo joins advocates in Florida calling on Congress to support vaccines

May 14, 2024

“What happens when the doctor becomes the patient?” asked Dr. Theopista Jacob Masenge (Dr. Theo, pronounced “TAY-oh”), a pediatrician and vaccine expert from Tanzania. Dr. Theo came to the U.S. for several weeks in Spring to speak to advocates and the media about this year’s urgent opportunities to expand access to lifesaving vaccines. “I didn’t have the measles vaccine as a child, so when I was a doctor, I became a measles patient…We need to tell our leaders how important these vaccines are for saving lives. Every life counts.”

Dr. Theo engaged with RESULTS volunteers from all over the Gulf South Region in Orlando, Florida during their regional conference. Advocates were inspired by Dr. Theo’s talk and took collective action, urging members of Congress support and invest in child health.

Below are images from the Gulf South event.

Dr. Theo enters the Gulf South Regional Conference

Dr. Theo enters the conference and greets RESULTS volunteer advocates and staff.

Dr. Theo and Pamela M. Covington

Dr. Theo meets RESULTS Expert on Poverty Pamela M. Covington.

Dr. Theo participates in a networking activity

Dr. Theo connects with partners and advocates before the sessions begin. Each attendee shares why they became involved in advocacy.

Dr. Theo speaks to attendees on child health and vaccines

Dr. Theo gives a talk on vaccines and child health. She shared her personal experience getting sick with the measles as an adult after not having access to vaccines as a young child. As a key advisor to the Tanzanian Ministry of Health, she describes how she led the implementation of the 2012 rotavirus vaccine, dropping pediatric diarrhea deaths by a staggering 75 percent.

Dr. Theo and Katie Fleischer of RESULTS have a discussion on how to take action on  global child health

RESULTS staff member Katie Fleischer (right) interviews Dr. Theo. They discuss the critical role advocates play to ensure the U.S. makes bold commitments to child survival.

Attendees write postcards to members of Congress

Attendees take action together, writing postcards asking their members of Congress to get on the record in support of global child health equity. Over 50 postcards reached members of Congress as a result of this action!

Attendees gather for a group picture with Dr. Theo

The attendees gather for a photo and cheer after finishing their postcards. New and seasoned advocates emerge ready to continue demanding decisive action for global public health. Dr. Theo’s visit inspired these volunteers and many more. Throughout her time in the U.S., Dr. Theo spoke with advocates, gave interviews to the media, met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill alongside RESULTS Fellows, and addressed government and civil society leaders as part of World Immunization Week.

Want to join Dr. Theo and RESULTS advocates in taking action? Write to the media and call on Congress to get on the record for child health.

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