News @ JSI

JSI Supports Universal Immunization in Africa

January 26, 2017

JSI joins colleagues from around the globe in asking that the Addis Declaration on Immunization feature prominently on the agenda of the upcoming 28th ordinary session of the assembly of the African Union. We ask that the AU renew its commitment to mobilizing domestic resources for immunization systems. High-level commitments from governments across Africa are critical to advance the goal of universal immunization by 2020 – as envisioned by the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) – and to ensure that all children have access to the vaccination services they need to survive and thrive.

In the last decade tremendous advances are improving health across the African continent, including:

  • A 50% decline in child death rates.
  • Widespread access to vaccines that were not available a decade ago.
  • Higher vaccination coverage rates.
  • Remarkable achievements in interrupting wild poliovirus transmission, near elimination of Meningococcal meningitis A, significant reduction in disease burden and mortality due to measles, and the elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus in many countries.
Despite these important gains, universal immunization by 2020, as endorsed under the GVAP, is largely off track in Africa.

“Global progress has been remarkable in the four decades since WHO launched the Expanded Programme on Immunization,” says Robert Steinglass, director of the Immunization Center at John Snow, Inc. “However, this progress has also been uneven and masks great inequities among and within countries. Knowing that 1 in 5 African children still don’t receive all necessary immunizations, we must continue to urge countries to invest in the systems that deliver life-saving vaccines.”

It has been one year since ministers and heads of delegation from 49 African countries signed the Addis Declaration on Immunization, a historic commitment to ensure that all Africans – no matter who they are or where they live – can access and use vaccination services to live healthy and productive lives.

With resolve we can still achieve the GVAP target of at least 90% coverage nationwide in each country and at least 80% coverage in every district for all vaccines used by each county’s vaccination program.

On the one year anniversary of that ADI commitment, it is important to remember that immunization for all is an essential building block for the Sustainable Development Goal target 3.8 of universal health coverage. Along with increased national commitment and ownership, the global community must continue to increase vaccination-related funding, strengthen vaccine supply chains and delivery systems, and make universal immunization a cornerstone of health and development efforts.

Follow @JSIHealth on Twitter and Facebook for updates on our efforts to build strong immunization systems, or read more about JSI’s immunization work.

John Snow, Inc. is a public health management consulting and research organization dedicated to improving the health of individuals and communities in the United States and around the globe.