World health organisation (WHO) has called for embracing of World Immunization Week that aims at promoting the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease.
Immunization saves millions of lives every year and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions. Vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) claim the lives of over half a million children under five every year in Africa representing 56 per cent of global VPD-related deaths.
The African region has made tremendous gains toward increasing access to immunization in the last two decades. But we need to redouble our efforts too many African children still live without access to life-saving vaccines. Nearly 20 million unvaccinated and under-vaccinated children in the world today.
According to WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, Immunization is key to preventing these deaths and helping children everywhere survive and thrive.
“We need to work together to improve immunization delivery so that all children are protected from preventable disease. Recent disease outbreaks on the continent remind us of the urgency of this goal. Outbreaks of measles in Madagascar and Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo underscore the need for increased investments in immunization as a fundamental part of strengthening primary health care systems.” Said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti.
The body also calls on people to celebrate vaccine heroes from across the continent who play an inspiring and integral role in delivering vaccines and saving lives.
This year’s immunization campaign is held under the theme ‘Protected Together: Vaccines Work!’ The campaign will celebrate Vaccine Heroes from around the world from parents and community members to health workers and innovators who help ensure we are all protected, at all ages, through the power of vaccine.
In recognition of this year’s theme’, immunization partners have stressed the importance of utilizing available resources, collaboratively, consistently and effectively fight vaccine-preventable diseases.