WHO observes Africa Vaccination Week

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By Aisha Tamba

The World Health Organization partnering UNICEF, Gavi The Vaccine Alliance, yesterday held the immunization briefing on the celebration of Africa Vaccination Week held in Bakau.
The objective of the vaccination week, which is celebrated every April, is to increase awareness on the importance of vaccines among people.

Momodou Gassama, Health Promotion Specialist, W.H.O, spoke on the importance of immunization and enhance participation as well as mobilising action among different stakeholders to increase uptake of immunisation services.

“Since the first edition of the AVW was celebrated in 2011, countries in Africa have used the AVW platform to conduct a wide range of activities including advocacy, communication, vaccination and other high impact health intervention to promote immunisation.

“Concerted efforts among the countries over the past 7 years have resulted in more than 150 million individuals vaccinated against different diseases during the AVW in addition to an estimated 100 million and 85 million children receiving Vitamin A supplementation and de-worming tablets respectively,” he said.

The UNICEF Representative, Mr Rupert Leighton, said the commemoration of the 8th Africa Vaccination Week under the theme ‘vaccines work, do your part’, seeks to provide an opportunity for countries to “strengthen their immunization services and systems through advocacy, social mobilization, and interactive community engagement and dialogue, with a view to increasing awareness on every child’s right to be protected from vaccine preventable diseases.”

“Immunization is inarguably one of the most cost-effective public health interventions in modern times. Vaccines save and improve lives, and we should, therefore, work in tandem to ensure that they reach the people who need them.

“This theme is very apt and timely, as more efforts to support immunization are needed, and every stakeholder in the immunization continuum must do his or her part,” he noted.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Dr Cherno Omar Barry, said the government has contributed millions in order to make sure that every child is vaccinated.