Third African Vaccination Week holds 22-28 April

Brazzaville, Congo (PANA) - The third African Vaccination Week (AVW), an initiative led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and implemented by countries in the region, will hold 22-28 April, the WHO African Regional Office said here Friday.

During the week, all member states of WHO in the African Region –  island states,  landlocked countries and  those in coastal regions – will organise a range of activities including high-level immunisation campaigns and public education and information-sharing events in
observance of the third edition of the AVW.

The regional launching ceremony will be held in Uganda, a country that is set to introduce the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine into its national routine immunisation schedule to avert infant and child deaths due to pneumonia.

The theme of this year’s AVW celebration is “Save lives. Prevent disabilities. Vaccinate.”

“We are delighted with  the high and growing profile of the  African Vaccination Week which is yet another opportunity for us to underscore the proven life-saving power of vaccines, and to encourage vaccination of children, adolescents and adults against deadly diseases,”, WHO
Regional Director for Africa, Dr Luis Sambo, was quoted to have said.

“This burgeoning partnership between WHO, Governments, partners, and other stakeholders is helping countries to sustain political commitment to vaccination and lay a solid foundation for a participatory culture of prevention and health promotion in Member States,” he said.

Like the two previous editions of the AVW, held in 2011 and 2012, the 2013 edition will also serve several purposes, including to raise awareness on the life-saving value of immunisation;  seek to increase vaccination coverage;  and reach underserved and marginalised communities (particularly those living in remote areas, deprived urban settings and strife-torn areas with existing and new available high impact child survival packages).

The AVW will also be used to reinforce the medium and long term benefits of immunisation and other child survival interventions, and help transform the lives of millions of children, giving them a chance to grow up healthy, go to school, and improve their life prospects.

Other activities planned by countries include delivery of life-saving interventions (e.g. introduction of new vaccines like pneumococcal or rotavirus vaccines), vitamin A supplementation; deworming medicines for intestinal worms; distribution of Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets; ‘catch up’ activities with routine vaccines in lower performing districts; polio and measles campaigns; and screening of children  for missed opportunities and for moderate or severe malnutrition

With the institutionalisation of AVW and the momentum it is now gaining, the achievements realised during the last two editions portend greater success for the future.  

For example, records available at WHO show that during the celebration of the Week in the last two years, access to vaccines improved especially in hard-to-reach communities, with more than 150 million people vaccinated with oral polio vaccine in 13 countries.

Also, around 1.7 million people were vaccinated with measles vaccine in Eritrea and Cameroon.  
-0- PANA SEG 12April2013

12 april 2013 08:10:12

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