AU Nations Set To Invest More On Immunisation

**ADVANCE FOR MONDAY, MARCH 23** A health worker gives a child an oral polio vaccine in Kano, Nigeria, Friday, Nov. 28. 2008. Even as health authorities seek to eradicate polio from the globe, infections are on the rise again in Nigeria, where an outbreak several years ago reintroduced polio back into over a dozen polio-free countries. But this time, a more-serious effort to combat the outbreak is being waged by community leaders, health workers, Muslim clerics, and the victims themselves. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

Adeboye Abiodun

African Heads of State have pledged to increase investment in immunisation coverage on the continent.

The leaders made the commitment at the 28th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, are to increase their country’s political and financial investments in vaccination programmes .

The World Health Organisation Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, noted that while immunisation coverage has improved over the last 15 years , the progress has stagnated in many countries.

“Vaccines are among the most effective public health tools available. When children are given a healthy start, communities thrive and economies grow stronger. This show of support from Heads of State is a significant step forward in our efforts to achieve universal access to immunization and, ultimately, improve child health and drive sustainable development across Africa.”

Chair , the Vaccine Alliance Board, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, charged African leaders to take ownership of many immunisation programmes to improve the health outcomes of their citizens.

Okonjo-Iweala said, “African leaders are showing outstanding leadership by endorsing this landmark commitment which will allow more African children to be reached with life-saving vaccines no matter where they live,” said. “We must now ensure that the commitments translate into sustainable financing for immunization.

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