Leaders commit to ensure African children access vaccines.

GEORGE OKORE By GEORGE OKORE, 2nd Feb 2017 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3ccrx3fb/
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Alternative Medicine

The forum called for building broad stakeholders response to ensure the right of every child to universal access to life-saving vaccines.

Even though the continent has made impressive gains over last 15 years toward increasing access to immunization, progress has stagnated


African Heads of State have adopted a declaration on Universal Access to Immunization, with ten commitments, including increasing vaccine-related funding strengthening supply chains and delivery systems.

At a special session at the just concluded 28th African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the leaders pledged to make universal access to vaccines a cornerstone of health and development efforts. The historic and timely was the first-ever ministerial-level gathering with a singular focus on ensuring that children across the continent can access life-saving vaccines.

The forum called for building broad stakeholders response to ensure the right of every child to universal access to life-saving vaccines. It also pledged to promote regional capacity for the development and production of vaccines in line with African Union Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan including the strengthening of national regulatory authorities.

“We know that universal access to immunization is achievable. With this historic pledge and political support at the highest levels, we are closer than ever to ensuring that all children in Africa have an equal shot at a healthy and productive life ,” noted outgoing African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

The African leaders observed that even though the continent has made impressive gains over last 15 years toward increasing access to immunization, progress has stagnated, and the continent is falling behind on meeting global immunization targets. For example, one in five children in Africa still do not receive basic life-saving vaccines and, as a result, vaccine-preventable diseases continue to claim too many lives. Measles alone accounts for approximately 61,000 preventable deaths in the African region every year.


The leaders noted The remarkable achievement of the Africa continent for interrupting wild poliovirus transmission for more than one year; achieving near elimination of Meningococcal meningitis A epidemics, and the significant reduction in disease burden and mortality due to measles. This has resulted to 50% decline in child death rates, and ever-growing numbers of children attending school.


The Addis Declaration on Immunization calls for countries to increase political and financial investments in their immunization programmes. It includes 10 commitments, including increasing vaccine-related funding, strengthening supply chains and delivery systems, and making universal access to vaccines a cornerstone of health and development efforts. The full declaration can be found below.

“Vaccines are among the most effective public health tools available,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO African Regional Director. “When children are given a healthy start, communities thrive and economies grow stronger. This show of support from Heads of State is a significant step forward in our efforts to achieve universal access to immunization and, ultimately, improve child health and drive sustainable development across Africa.”


The declaration recognized considerable progress towards, universal access to immunization by 2020, and urged for sustained vaccine introduction and coverage. They agreed to keep universal access to immunization to reduce child mortality, morbidity and disability. The meeting promised to address persistent barriers in our vaccine and healthcare delivery systems, especially in the poorest, vulnerable and most marginalized communities.


The leaders called upon member states and partners, to negotiate with vaccine manufacturers to facilitate access to available vaccines at affordable prices “Immunization is one of the smartest investments a country can make in its future,” said Ethiopia Health Minister Professor Yifru Berhan Mitke. “We must do more to protect all our children from preventable diseases – not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because it makes economic sense. When our children are healthy, our families, communities and countries thrive.”

“African leaders are showing outstanding leadership by endorsing this landmark commitment which will allow more African children access life-saving vaccines no matter where they live,” said Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance board. “We must now ensure that the commitments translate into sustainable financing for immunization.

Tags

Children, Immunization, Immunology, Vaccination, Vaccinations, Vaccine, Vaccines

Meet the author

author avatar GEORGE OKORE
George Okore is an international media consultant, resource person/facilitator, projects/programs manager, community leader, negotiator, advocate and author/writer/columnist based in Nairobi, Kenya.

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