On 23rd April 2018 the World Health Organization in the African Region, in collaboration with UNICEF, African Union and other partners, launched the eighth African Vaccination Week (AVW). The week-long campaign from 23 to 29 April 2018 under the theme: ’Vaccines work, Do your part!,’ will raise awareness of the need and right of everyone, particularly children and women, to be protected from diseases that can be prevented by vaccines. It will also draw attention to the progress that has been made to ensure access to basic life-saving vaccinations across the continent.
“The African Region has made commendable progress towards improving access to vaccines. African Heads of State and Government committed to investing more in immunization services and ensuring vaccination for all by endorsing the Addis Declaration on Immunization (ADI) in 2017. However, unless this political will is translated into action, the Region will not achieve universal immunization coverage by 2020. Concrete actions are required to ensure that children and other vulnerable people are protected from death and diseases which can be prevented through vaccination,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
Immunization is widely recognized as one of the most successful and cost-effective health interventions. Hospitalizations due to vaccine-preventable diseases has been reduced due introduction of new effective vaccines. Despite this, large numbers of children and adults still do not have access to many life-saving vaccines
“If Governments, the UN and partners are to be successful in increasing immunization coverage, then we must collectively and robustly address weak health systems, accessibility challenges for children living in slums and hard to reach areas, socio-cultural barriers, and misinformation around vaccination”, said Leila Pakkala, UNICEF’s Regional Director for Eastern and South Africa
“High vaccine coverage builds equitable health systems and is also vital for long term health security across the continent,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance.
African Vaccination Week is an effective way of reaching people with limited access to regular health services. Held annually since 2011, the initiative has resulted in over 150 million people of all ages being vaccinated. The campaign keeps immunization high on national and regional agendas.
The Member States, in collaboration with WHO Country offices and partners across the continent will celebrate AVW 2018 with various country-specific programs including vaccination, provision of a range of life saving health activities, health promotion, community outreach, media activities and more.
Join the global conversation about African Vaccination Week on social media by following #AVW18 and #VaccinesWork.