Throughout Africa, immunisation partners are celebrating African Immunisation Week to raise awareness of the importance of vaccination in reducing child mortality and renew efforts around universal vaccination coverage.
Vaccination can save children’s lives, and keep adults, communities and nations, healthy. One in five African children still lacks access to all the necessary and basic vaccinations.
This year, Africa United, a campaign led by a coalition of African leaders and celebrities such as Didier Drogba and designed to drive communications around strengthening national immunisation programs while raising awareness on routine vaccination, has teamed up with the World Health Organisation African Regional Office (WHO AFRO), to highlight African Vaccination Week’s theme through the “Every Shot Counts” initiative.
The campaign’s partners use visual materials that amplify existing education, advocacy, and health care delivery efforts.
The theme for African Vaccination Week 2016 is “Close the gap. Stay polio-free!” and draws attention to the need for universal immunization coverage in the African Region. It is also a celebration of the important polio eradication milestone that has been reached, and calls on countries to stay vigilant in the fight against polio, to stay polio-free.
Yacine Djibo, founder of Speak Up Africa and co-manager of the Africa United Campaign reminds us that the leading causes of death among children (pneumonia and diarrhea) in Africa can be effectively prevented by vaccinating all children. “There is no more cost-effective way for us to protect millions of our children. No children need die of diarrhea or pneumonia if we vaccinate our kids” adds Djibo.
The first-ever Ministerial Conference on Immunization in Africa was held earlier this year, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. At the conference, African leaders took bold steps towards universal coverage with commitments outlined in the Declaration on Universal Access to Immunization as a Cornerstone for Health and Development.