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Vaccines: A Preventable Fate
Venetia Dearden in Mali
Twenty percent of all the babies born in the world each year—the equivalent of nearly five times the children born yearly in the United States—are not getting the basic vaccines they need to be protected from killer diseases, such as measles.
And that’s why Venetia Dearden traveled to West African nation of Mali with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to see firsthand the importance of vaccines to families and the lengths to which they must go to get them. When MSF teams stage vaccination campaigns in the West African nation of Mali, mothers will come from hours away, sometimes days away.
In the first year of their life, children must receive vaccines five separate times. In certain parts of the world, it can be extremely difficult for children and their caregivers to come so often if they live far away from a vaccination point or can't afford the cost of transportation. As in many other countries, these women, who are overwhelmingly the stewards of their families when it comes to health issues, want the protection vaccines can provide them and their children against several potentially deadly diseases that plague the region.
In the best-case scenario, MSF and other agencies would bring the vaccines to them, wherever they lived, in whatever conditions. But this isn’t possible at present, because many of the vaccines available today are not tailored for the difficult environments in which they must be used. To give but one example: establishing and sustaining cold chain is very difficult in places where electricity is hard to come by, to say nothing of ice. That’s why MSF has been advocating for a global approach to vaccine development and dissemination that takes into account the conditions in the countries where these vaccines are most needed to half preventable deaths, as well as the particular strains of diseases found in various locations.
Read more about MSF's work with Vaccines and Vaccination Campaigns, and its advocacy on behalf of those still vulnerable to, and dying from, preventable diseases.
Behind the scenes with Venetia Dearden
Venetia Dearden grew up in Somerset, an area she has been documenting over the past decade, for which she has received various awards and on which she published her first book, “Somerset Stories, Fivepenny Dreams” in 2008. Her second book, "Glastonbury, Another Stage," published in 2010, was shown in New York, Australia and at the National Portrait Gallery as her first solo show in London. Her work continues to be published worldwide.
An early degree in anthropology fueled her passion for travel and discovery of people and their environment, naturally taking her on a course of documenting all she experienced with her camera. Her use of natural light, subtle and intimate portraits of people and landscapes are highly emotive, spontaneous and a testament to her zest for life.
Venetia recently joined VII Photo Agency in New York and Paris and is also represented by Santucci & Co in London. A two-year collaboration with Mulberry has recently culminated in a bespoke coffee table book released earlier this year celebrating the 40th anniversary of the British brand.
In September 2011, Venetia was awarded the Vic Odden Award by the Royal Photographic Society, for outstanding contribution to photography for a photographer under 35 years of age in the U.K. Her fourth book, "Eight Days," a personal document of a road trip in the United States, has just been published.