Senegal uses new vaccines in immunisation programme

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- In its current expanded programme on immunisation (EPI), Senegal will introduce Pentavalent, a new vaccine meant to fight hepatitis and Hoemophilis influenza B and reinforce protection for children, Prime Minister Idrissa Seck disclosed here Wednesday.
Seck made the announcement when he chaired the National EPI forum, attended by development partners, government officials as well as local government and civil society representatives.
Knowing that the country's future depends on the health of its children, Seck said, in addition to the introduction of the new vaccines, he would ensure that the 1.
2-billion francs CFA budget allotted to purchase vaccines would be increased and secured.
The representative of the Global alliance for vaccines and immunisation (GAVI), Tore Gobal, announced that his organisation reserved about $25 million to finance immunisation programmes in Senegal to enhance objectives set the government.
Seck cited that Senegal had implemented an immunisation programme since 1979 that was improved by recent initiatives, like eradication of poliomyelitis, elimination of mother and neonatal tetanus, as well as measles and yellow fever control.
In January 2003, a national anti-measles campaign was launched, which helped immunise 98.
5% of children aged between nine months and 14 years, Prime Minister Seck explained.
The current surveillance figures have already shown that the new measles cases reduced by over 70%, thanks to GAVI vaccine funding.
This result, he said, reinforced the government's resolve to declare prevention a faith of its health policy in order to reduce poverty.
GAVI representative confirmed the Prime Minister's statement by indicating that in order to reduce poverty, investment in the health sector constituted the best investment.
"Immunisation is foremost among these investments though it is the least onerous to save lives and reduce suffering".
Vaccine fund representative Jacques François Martin and Ian Hopwood, UNICEF representative in Senegal, called for the involvement of the whole society to immunise all children in order to remove forever the diseases haunting them.
"Immunisation is not only a task for health workers.
It's an activity, which requires the commitment of the international community.
We cannot succeed without the civil society's support, without families' individual support, without support from society and the entire whole community," Martin said.
He emphasised that children's protection was necessary for a nation.
World Bank representative Joen Untire said that the importance of immunisation was beyond mere health information.
He added that it was a criterion of good governance, as it is an essential element in the fight against poverty.
Though authorities exerted efforts, Untire observed that immunisation cover was still relatively low in Senegal.
Therefore, he called for a mobilisation of all organisations and resources in the country to intensify immunisation strategies.

17 december 2003 22:52:00

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