African Health Monitor Issue #19

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March 2015

Special issue: Immunization in the African Region

Vaccination has been lauded as one of the greatest public health achievements. Smallpox, a human disease, and rinderpest, which affects livestock, were eliminated through vaccination. Currently, several vaccines are given to children and adolescents to prevent a number of childhood diseases, including pneumonia, diarrhoea and measles.

There has been a steady rise in immunization coverage over the years and vaccines have become available to many communities and populations, especially deprived communities in the countries of the WHO African Region. There has also been significant progress in the introduction of several new vaccines, including pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV), rotavirus and conjugate meningitis vaccines in the Region.

These successes have been made possible with the commendable leadership and unwavering commitment of governments and people in the Region and of partners. However, several challenges remain to be addressed. The articles carefully chart the successes and challenges of immunization in the African Region.

This special edition is a call to all stakeholders – governments and people of the African Region as well as partners – to increase efforts at making immunization a way of life across the Region. Governments should continue to make vaccination a top priority and commit adequate resources and communities should appreciate the value of immunization, and demand and protect immunization services as a basic right.

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