Volume 34, Issue 48, Pages 5819-5990 (21 November 2016)
Investing in life saving vaccines to guarantee life of future generations in Africa
R.M. Mihigo, J.C. Okeibunor, H. O’Malley, B. Masresha, P. Mkanda, F. Zawaira
The World Health Organization’s Regional Offices for Africa and for the Eastern Mediterranean in conjunction with the African Union and the Government of Ethiopia hosted a ministerial conference on immunization in Africa from 24 to 25 February 2016 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia under the theme “towards universal immunization coverage as a cornerstone for health and development in Africa”. The conference brought together African leaders – including health and finance ministers, and parliamentarians thus creating a powerful platform for governments to demonstrate their commitment to advancing universal access to immunization on the continent in line with the Global Vaccine Action Plan. The event also brought together advocates, technical experts, policymakers, partner agencies, donors and journalists to examine how best to drive forward immunization across Africa, ensuring every child has access to the vaccines they need. Key points highlighted throughout conference were: universal access to immunization is at the forefront of enabling Africa to reach its full potential – by improving health, driving economic growth and empowering future generations; it is one of the most cost-effective solutions in global health, with clear benefits for health and development; and immunization brings economic benefits too, reducing health care costs and increasing productivity. At the close of the conference, 46 African countries signed a historic ministerial declaration on “Universal Access to Immunization as a Cornerstone for Health and Development in Africa” signaling fierce determination among African leaders to secure the health and prosperity of their societies through immunization.