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MRC Unit Gambia, partners commemorate immunisation week

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By Aminata Kuyateh & Fatou Bojang

Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia in collaboration with partners recently joined the rest of the world to commemorate immunization week held at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in Fajara.

This year, the week coincides with the 50 years of Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI).

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The dual celebration highlights the remarkable progress made in global immunisation efforts and the role of vaccination in safeguarding public health.

The head of vaccines and immunity at MRCG, Prof Ed Clarke, said MRC is working hand-in-hand with the government to develop the EPI vaccines programme across sub-Saharan Africa.

“The first trials of key vaccines to prevent meningitis and pneumonia in Africa were conducted here as well as the first trials of the malaria vaccines which is now recommended by the WHO,” he said.

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Prof Clarke expressed gratitude to the government and people of The Gambia for their significant contribution to save lives and improve health within the sub-region and across the world.

Deputy director of health services at the Ministry of Health, Dr Fatou Dibba, said the ministry is working together with partners including WHO, MRC Gambia, UNICEF and many others. He said the ministry through EPI registered significant milestones which contribute to the reduction of infant mobility and mortality.

“The Gambia is among few countries using an electronic immunisation system which helps to collect, aggregate, store and analyze data. This system provides us up to date immunisation data from all services delivery points and gives us information on areas that need the support thereby helping to evaluate and monitor immunisation service,” he added.

WHO country rep, Oumie Jagne Jallow, highlighted the commemoration of world immunisation and the importance of vaccines in safeguarding the wellbeing of communities.

She reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring that every child and individual in The Gambia have access to vaccination thus requiring a concerted effort from sectors.

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