3 of 10 African children not yet vaccinated to date, says WHO

Brazzaville, Congo (PANA) - Three out of 10 African children have not received vaccination for the first time in their life, Dr. Richard Mihigo, coordinator of the routine immunization and new vaccines programme at the World Health Organization (WHO), said.

Mihigo gave this indication during an awareness-raising day for Congolese journalists on the African Vaccination Week, to be celebrated 22-28 April.

The Week aims at highlighting the benefits of vaccination which could also significantly reduce morbidity and mortality.

Jointly organized by the WHO and the Congolese government, the awareness-raising day aims to increase immunization coverage and help, through the media, reach more children while giving priority to areas that are difficult to access.

According to Mihigo, the WHO will increase coverage and carry out other interventions such as vitamin A supplementation, deworming and growth monitoring and distribution of ITNs, to protect people against life-threatening diseases such as influenza, meningitis and cancers that occur in adulthood.

"The success of this operation can contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Vaccination began in the 1970s and requires a significant investment for all countries. It concerns not only children and pregnant women, but also affects all social strata of society. This year, each country will organize activities based on local conditions," he said.

The African Vaccination Week will be held under the theme "Population vaccinated means healthy people".

The first week was celebrated in April 2011 when 40 of the 46 countries in the African region had organized activities, including vaccination against vaccine-preventable diseases -- polio, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, Hib infections, measles and yellow fever.
-0- PANA MB/JSG/JEN/VAO 18April2013

18 april 2013 11:35:53

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