Three out of every 10 African children have never received vaccination in their lives, the World Health Organization has said.
The coordinator of routine immunization and new vaccines programme at the World Health Organization, Richard Mihigo, stated this during an awareness-raising day for Congolese journalists on the African Vaccination Week, to be celebrated between April 22 and 28.
The week aims at highlighting the benefits of vaccination which could also significantly reduce morbidity and mortality.
Jointly organized by the WHO and the Congolese government, the awareness-raising day aims to increase immunization coverage and help, through the media, reach more children while giving priority to areas that are difficult to access.
According to Mr. Mihigo, the WHO will increase coverage and carry out other interventions such as vitamin A supplementation, de-worming and growth monitoring and distribution of ITNs, to protect people against life-threatening diseases such as influenza, meningitis and cancers that occur in adulthood.
“The success of this operation can contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“Vaccination began in the 1970s and requires a significant investment by all countries. It concerns not only children and pregnant women, but also affects all social strata of society. This year, each country will organize activities based on local conditions,’’ he said.
The African Vaccination Week will be held under the theme “Population vaccinated means healthy people’’.
The first one was celebrated in April 2011 when 40 of the 46 countries in the African region organized activities, including vaccination against vaccine-preventable diseases such as — polio, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, Hib infections, measles and yellow fever.