AFRICA — The Africa CDC has released a statement to emphasize the importance of protecting lives , particularly those of children, women, and entire communities, from vaccine-preventable diseases by strengthening immunization programs across the Africa. 

This comes a few days after the World Health Organization celebrated having vaccinated over 51 million individuals over the past 50 years in Africa.

This  statement was released by H.E Dr. Jean Kaseya, Director-General of Africa CDC, on behalf of Africa CDC during the African Vaccination Week held on April 30th at the Africa CDC headquarters.

This  annual event celebrated during the last week of April, coincides with other WHO Regions and the World Immunization Week (WIW), with WHO Regional Office for Africa leading and coordinated it .

The main goal of the AVW is to strengthen immunization programs in the African Region by increasing awareness of the importance of every person’s need and right to be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases, particularly children and women.

 This year’s vaccination week was held under the slogan ‘Vaccinated communities, Healthy communities.’

Africa Vaccination Week aims to keep immunization high on national and regional agendas toward delivering life-saving interventions for happier and healthier communities.

Dr. Kaseya stated that over the years, immunization road maps have been developed, cold chain equipment has been provided, and partnerships have been forged to increase access to life-saving vaccines.

However, vaccination faces challenges such as vaccine hesitancy, lack of local vaccine manufacturing capacity, and inadequate financial resources which pose significant hurdles.

He highlighted that to address these challenges, the Africa CDC has laid out key actions, such as the creation of a new Directorate of Primary Health Care to focus on strengthening health systems and immunization across the continent.

Africa CDC also leads the charge toward the vital goal of access to safe and effective vaccines. Heads of State and Government have recently expanded local manufacturing of vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics for Africa’s self-sufficiency in health.

Additionally, the Africa CDC has fostered partnerships with like-minded partners, invested in research, and built local capacity.

Dr. Kaseya ended his remarks by calling upon political leaders and policymakers to prioritize immunization, increase domestic funding, and raise awareness about the importance of vaccination.

He also urged communities and stakeholders to mobilize support and advocate for concerted action against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Furthermore, he invited African Union first ladies and high-level leaders to join in raising awareness about the benefits of immunization, particularly in preventing and controlling diseases like cervical cancer.

Launched in January 2017, the Africa CDC, as a specialized technical institution of the African Union, supports public health initiatives of Member States and strengthens the capacity of their public health institutions to detect, prevent, control, and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats.

It supports African Union Member States in providing coordinated and integrated solutions to their public health infrastructure inadequacies, human resource capacity, disease surveillance, laboratory diagnostics, and preparedness and response to health emergencies and disasters.

The institution serves as a platform for Member States to share and exchange knowledge and lessons from public health interventions.

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