Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Gates Foundation, Johns Hopkins International Vaccine Access Centre and other global institutions have celebrated African Vaccination Leaders who have excelled in advocating for transformative changes in vaccination coverage.
The global institutions with special interest in healthcare services, while marking the end of Africa Vaccination Week, celebrated and highlighted three leading campaigners and experts in the field of vaccination â€“ Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) and Vaccine Champion for Women Advocates for Vaccine Access (WAVA); Mrs. Toyin Saraki; WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti; and former President of Tanzania, Dr. Jakaya Kikwete.
Mrs. Saraki, who was also featured by Johns Hopkins International Vaccine Access Centre and is a Special Advisor to the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) of the World Health Organisationâ€™s (WHO) Regional Office for Africa, had led global calls for vaccination during Africa Vaccination Week.
She said the rate of immunisation should be treated as a national health emergency and a global health security issue.
According to her, “It is time that we took the lead domestically. As Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the first African Director-General of the WHO stated last week in his keynote IMF/WBG Spring Meetings speech, we must focus on mobilising domestic resources and consider external input as supplementary. Frontline health workers, like our MamaCare midwives, are best placed to lead this battle and will do so with political will and support from government.
â€œVaccinations have the ability to protect not just an individual, but a community. An increase of vaccine coverage in low-income and middle-income countries by 2030 would prevent 24 million people from falling into poverty due to health expenses. Health workers effort to increase immunisation builds, therefore, the foundation for strong primary health care and is a route to universal health coverage. The desire for health for all, based on blanket vaccination coverage, is overwhelming â€“ but families are currently being let down.â€
Saraki also praised fellow vaccination leaders Dr. Moeti and former President Dr. Kikwete as â€œpioneering game-changers in the field of vaccinationâ€ and joined frontline health workers at Lugbe Primary Healthcare Centre, Abuja, to administer Oral Polio Vaccines to children brought for their vaccine appointment.
The wife of the Senate President also donated insecticide-treated mosquito nets to mothers, to mark World Malaria Day.