CLOSING THE IMMUNISATION GAP IN AFRICA
The proven benefit of immunisation is of no doubts, and till today, it is the most successful and cost effective health intervention. Though it saves a lots of deaths every year, especially among children below the age of 5years, and relieves a huge financial burden from the world’s economy, the full impacts of this miraculous health intervention has not been realised by many countries, especially Africa countries.
Current global indicators of immunisation is quite good as compared to several decades past, though has remained steady for the past few years. But with a global focus in achieving vaccination coverage of more than 90% nationally and greater than 80% in every district by 2020, through the Global Vaccine Action Plan, much effort needs to be channelled into the immunisation campaign at the global level.
The proven benefit of immunisation is of no doubts, and till today, it is the most successful and cost effective health intervention
Likewise in Africa, more countries are appreciating the immense benefits of immunisation and have therefore imbibed some these interventions into their health system. Despite this considerable move, with a steady increase every year, immunisation coverage remains low and the burden is still high. In 2013, whiles the Western Pacific and European regions estimated DPT3 coverage remain at 96%, WHO Africa region remain at 75%. Also, out of the 21.8million infants who did not receive vaccines, 13% of them came from Nigeria alone.
In Africa, more countries are appreciating the immense benefits of immunisation
There is therefore an urgent need to close this gap as it leaves a heavy burden on the ailing shoulders of the economy and the quality of life of the people of Africa.
Leaders of the various African countries must therefore show immense commitment, both politically and financially, to the procurement of adequate vaccines to run their respective immunisation programme. Immunisation alone has averted 2 to 3 million deaths and thus, proper implementation of the immunisation programme could reduce the high rates of infant mortality that has saddled many Africa countries.
Africa leaders must show more political and financial commitment towards immunisation.
A critical review of most of the immunisation programme run across the Africa continent reveals many key loopholes that downplay its effectiveness.
Key among this is inadequate supply of skilled labour, lack of logistics and storage facilities, and financial inadequacies. Also, factors such as inadequate health centres and the deplorable nature of the roads restrict health professionals from reaching the unreached.
Instead of relying heavily on donor support to run immunisation programmes, there must be a conscious effort to finance some of these all-important aspects of the economy; as its effects has a widened impact. Let’s not forget that, the wealth of a country depends on the health of its citizens.
Instead of relying heavily on donor support to run immunisation programmes, there must be a conscious effort to finance some of these all-important aspects of the economy
By Assandoh De Nurse