LATEST: Africa should increase immunisation investment

LATEST: Africa should increase immunisation investment

Roselyne  Sachiti  in ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

African  countries, especially those that have attained middle class  status,  have been  urged  to  increase  investment  in immunisation  and  start preparing to finance activities  from their own national  budgets and move from donor dependence.

According to  a new report,  Fulfilling  a promise: Ensuring  immunisation  for all in Africa,  issued in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  by the World  Health  Organization’s  Regional  Office  for  Africa  and  the  Eastern  Mediterranean  region, yesterday ahead of the first ever Ministerial  Conference on Immunisation  in Africa , only 15 African  countries  fund more than 50 percent of their  national  immunisation  expenditure.

These include Algeria , Cape Verde , Botswana ,  South Africa ,  Namibia  ,  Seychelles ,  Mauritius and Equatorial  Guinea.

Adressing journalists, WHO Regional Director  for  Africa , Dr Matshidiso Moeti  said during the ministerial   conference  they would  further encourage  health ministers to  make more efforts to understand  importance  of vaccines.

“For Africa to achieve its full potential and secure a bright future, we must unite to ensure that every child on the continent receives vaccines he or she needs to survive and thrive,” she said.

Currently  Gavi , the Vaccine  Alliance,   has invested heavily  in   supporting  70 percent  of countries  on the  continent .

More than 240 million African children have been immunised through Gavi support since 2000.

Zimbabwe is one of the countries that receive funding from Gavi. Between the year 2000 and November 2015 Gavi disbursed US$74 270 696 for measles   (NVS), rubella and rota virus immunisation among others.

African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs Dr Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko said a lot of work needs to be done to address gaps.

This, he said, requires the highest political support at country and continental level.

Ethiopia Minister of Health Dr Kesetebirhan Admasu said   Africa could do more.

“We must do more to protect  our children  from  devastating  illnesses-not   only   because  it is our responsibility   to ensure  healthier  futures for  our   Citizens ,  but also because  it is a smart  economic  decision,” said.

African   Union   Commission  Chairperson Dr Nkosazana   Dlamini-Zuma  said;  “This is the start of a new era  of health on our continent  in which  all countries  commit to saving and improving children’s  lives  using  one of the most powerful  tools ever invented: vaccines . Africa’s unity on immunisation is our best hope for a better future.”

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