After calling on their governments to invest in immunisation for the girl child, and engaged them to eradicate polio once and for all, civil society across Africa are now making sure pneumonia vaccines are high on the agenda.
In commemorating World Pneumonia Day, organisations in over ten countries are calling for more domestic financing to Pneumonia vaccines, routine immunisation programmes and strengthening of health systems.
Immunization remains the most effective strategy to prevent Pneumonia even though it is a treatable disease. Yet the disease is still not getting the much-need attention it deserves and continues to be the lead killer disease of children under five years; more than malaria, HIV/AIDS and measles combined.
“We need to raise more awareness and push our governments to increase local financing for immunization, improve the policies and expand coverage of routine immunization programs so that all children can benefit, because too many children continue to die from Pneumonia,” says Abdul Swaray from Children Advocacy Forum – Sierra Leone.
More than 1-million children’s lives could be saved every year if prevention and treatment interventions for Pneumonia were widely introduced in the world’s poorest countries especially in Africa and South Asia.
Some countries like Kenya, Uganda and Zambia have developed district, state and national plans to intensify actions for the control of Pneumonia. Many more have integrated Pneumonia specific actions into their national child health and child survival strategies.
These efforts are still shy of the investments required to meet the Global Vaccince Action Plans and for the disease to be eradicated completely. Only greater political will and greater domestic resources will ensure the Addis Declaration on Immunization that Africa heads of states endorsed in January 2017 is not just words, but truly serves to keep children alive.