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Volunteering to Build a Healthy World
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Thursday, 29 April 2004
Volunteers play a key role in promoting public health and providing health care, including prevention of epidemics such as HIV/AIDS and malaria. From participating in community sanitation campaigns to donating time and resources for building hospitals, voluntary efforts can be seen in myriad forms. In 2000, ten million people volunteered to support the immunization of 550 million children as part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Most of them were concerned citizens, volunteering in their own communities. They gave their time to ensure that children reported to immunization stations, were properly documented, and received the oral vaccine. The total value of the support provided by volunteers was estimated at US$ 10 billion, well beyond the reach of governments or international and national organizations.

The example illustrates well how the solidarity and creativity of millions of volunteers are key to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

On the occasion of the World Health Day (7 April), this month WorldVolunteerWeb.org focuses on various initiatives worldwide in which volunteers contribute towards building a healthy, better world. Also featured are related events and resources, including opportunities for volunteer health workers.

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