Immunisation exercise
Immunisation exercise

AFRICAN Heads of State from across the continent yesterday in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa advanced vaccines commitments by adopting a Declaration on Universal Access to Immunization in Africa. In a statement received by Nigerian Pilot, the Heads of State endorsed the historic commitment, the Addis Declaration on Immunization as a timely pledge to ensure that that everyone in Africa regardless of who they are or where they live – receives the full benefits of immunization. The endorsement was issued during the 28thAfrican Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The press release sent from African Union Commission , Wynne Musabayana, Head of Communication Division, stated that the declaration 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 release said that while Africa has made impressive gains over the last 15 years toward increasing access to immunization, progress has stagnated, and the continent is falling behind on meeting global immunization targets. One in five children in Africa still does not receive basic life-saving
vaccines and, as a result, vaccinepreventable diseases continue to claim too many lives. Measles alone accounts for approximately 61,000 preventable deaths in the African region every year. Outgoing African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said, ‘’ We know that universal access to immunization is achievable,” noted. “The Addis Declaration on Immunization is a historic pledge. With 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.” The Addis Declaration on Immunization is said to be a call for countries to increase political and financial investments in their immunization programmes. It includes 10 commitments, including increasing vaccinerelated funding, strengthening supply chains and delivery systems, and making universal access to vaccines a cornerstone of health and development efforts. World Health Organization, WHO, Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti noted that “Vaccines are among the most effective public health tools available, adding that “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.” Fewer than 15 African countries fund more than 50% of their national immunization programmes. As Africa nears polio eradication, critical funding for immunization through the polio eradication programme is expected to ramp down. Additionally, countries approaching middleincome status will transition away from Gavi support for immunization in the coming years. Consequently, governments must redouble their efforts to make universal immunization coverage a national priority. WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr Ala Alwan noted that ‘’ As long as even one child in Africa lacks access to immunization, our work remains unfinished,” said “With the right mix of political will, financial resources and technical acumen, Africa can – and will – stem the tide of vaccine-preventable diseases across the continent.” “Immunization is one of the smartest investments a country can make in its future,” said Professor Yifru Berhan Mitke, Ethiopia’s Minister of Health. “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.”
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance board said, “African leaders are showing outstanding leadership by endorsing this landmark commitment which will allow more African children to be reached with life-saving vaccines no matter where they live,” “We must now ensure that the commitments translate into sustainable financing for immunization. Gavi stands ready to support African countries in their efforts to implement equitable health approaches and maintain strong immunization coverage so we can create together a more prosperous future for communities across our continent.” The Addis Declaration on Immunization was signed by Ministers of Health and other line ministers at the Ministerial Conference on Immunization in Africa , MCIA, in Addis Ababa. MCIA was the first-ever ministerial-level gathering with a singular focus on ensuring that children across the continent can access life-saving vaccines. To guide the implementation of the ADI, a roadmap is being developed in close collaboration with the WHO offices in the African Region and Eastern Mediterranean Region, the African Union Commission and immunization partners, the release said.

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