The World Immunization Week comes up from 24-30 April 2015. It will signal a renewed global, regional, and national effort to accelerate action to increase awareness and demand for immunization by communities, and improve vaccination delivery services. This year’s campaign focuses on closing the immunization gap and reaching equity in immunization levels as outlined in the Global Vaccine Action Plan, which is a framework to prevent millions of deaths by 2020 through universal access to vaccines for people in all communities.
While the global campaign focuses on ‘closing the immunization gap’ the African Vaccination Week 2015 which happens same week (24 April 2015 – 30 April 2015) focuses on ‘Vaccination a gift for life’. The 2 campaigns are all aiming at one thing, no child should be left out. Today I will focus on the global effort while next week Tuesday God willing will focus on the specific events that Nigeria plans to organize during the week. Iam aware that during the week the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) under the leadership of its executive director Dr Ado Muhammad in collaboration with development partners, CSOs and Media will organize media executives round table and also #Walking4Vaccines to demonstrate commitment to the Nigerian children. I will comment on these next week.
The World Immunization Week celebrated in the last week of every April (24-30) aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Immunization is widely recognized as one of the most successful and cost-effective health interventions. It prevents between 2 and 3 million deaths every year and now protects children not only against diseases for which vaccines have been available for many years, such as diphtheria, tetanus, polio and measles, but also against diseases such as pneumonia and rotavirus diarrhoea, 2 of the biggest killers of children under 5.
According to information made available by W.H.O, the World Immunization Week 2015 will signal a renewed global, regional, and national effort to accelerate action to increase awareness and demand for immunization by communities, and improve vaccination delivery services. This year’s campaign focuses on closing the immunization gap and reaching equity in immunization levels as outlined in the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP).
Overview of Immunization coverage; It is imperative to remind the readers about this which forms the bases for all joint advocacy efforts and framework.
- Haemophilus influenzae type b(Hib) causes meningitis and pneumonia.
- Hepatitis Bis a viral infection that attacks the liver. Hepatitis B vaccine for infants had been introduced nationwide in 183 countries by the end of 2013.
- Human papillomavirus— the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract—can cause cervical cancer, and other types of cancer and genital warts in both men and women. Human papillomavirus vaccine was introduced in 55 countries by the end of 2013.
- Measlesis a highly contagious disease caused by a virus, which usually results in a high fever and rash, and can lead to blindness, encephalitis or death. By the end of 2013, 84% of children had received 1 dose of measles vaccine by their second birthday, and 148 countries had included a second dose as part of routine immunization.
- Meningitis Ais an infection that can cause severe brain damage and is often deadly. MenAfriVac is the vaccine developed for it.
- Mumpsis a highly contagious virus that causes painful swelling at the side of the face under the ears (the parotid glands), fever, headache and muscle aches. It can lead to viral meningitis. Mumps vaccine had been introduced nationwide in 120 countries by the end of 2013.
- Pneumococcaldiseases include pneumonia, meningitis and febrile bacteraemia, as well as otitis media, sinusitis and bronchitis. Pneumococcal vaccine had been introduced in 103 countries by the end of 2013.
- Poliois a highly infectious viral disease that can cause irreversible paralysis. In 2013, 84% of infants around the world received 3 doses of polio vaccine. Targeted for global eradication, polio has been stopped in all countries save 3—Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.
- Rotavirusesare the most common cause of severe diarrhoeal disease in young children throughout the world. Rotavirus vaccine was introduced in 52 countries by the end of 2013.
- Rubellais a viral disease which is usually mild in children, but infection during early pregnancy may cause fetal death or congenital rubella syndrome, which can lead to defects of the brain, heart, eyes and ears. Rubella vaccine was introduced nationwide in 137 countries by the end of 2013.
- Tetanusis caused by a bacterium which grows in the absence of oxygen, e.g. in dirty wounds or in the umbilical cord if it is not kept clean. It produces a toxin which can cause serious complications or death. The vaccine to prevent maternal and neonatal tetanus had been introduced in 103 countries by the end of 2013.
- Yellow feveris an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. As of 2013, yellow fever vaccine had been introduced in routine infant immunization programmes in 35 of the 44 countries and territories at risk for yellow fever in Africa and the Americas.
Some key challenges highlighted despite improvements in global vaccine coverage during the past decade are as follows;
- Limited resources
- competing health priorities
- poor management of health systems
- Inadequate monitoring and supervision
Is good to wrap up the article with the theme again “Closing the Immunization Gap” which is key to ensure no child is left out.
1st published in Daily Trust of 21st April 2015 by Dr Aminu Magashi publisher of Health Reporters at email@example.com