First Ladies of Africa and GAVI officials displaying a symbolic immunisation cards as advocates, in collaboration with GAVI
The First Lady and President of the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA), Lordina Mahama, has called on the international community, donors and partners to assist Africa to close the immunisation gap among children.
She said regardless of where children are born, who they are or where they live, they have the right to survive.
Mrs Mahama made the call when she opened the high-level meeting by OAFLA, in collaboration with the GAVI, the vaccine alliance on the theme: ‘Unfinished Business With Child Health In Africa’.
Giving her opening statement at the event held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the16th Ordinary General Assembly of OAFLA, Mrs Mahama said, “We have been blessed with sustained support from development partners and faith-based organisations and as members of OAFLA, we have to lobby our governments, benevolent organisations, international non-governmental organisations as well as corporate Africa to ensure that we finish the business of child health.”
She said Ghana was on record to have eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) since 2011, while cases and deaths from pneumonia and diarrhoea in children had drastically reduced since the introduction of effective vaccines.
According to her, the overall successful programme in immunisation had contributed to a reduction in deaths in children from 111 in 2003 to 60 per 1,000 live births in 2014.
The First Lady disclosed that “Ghana has, indeed, come a long way in improving the health of mothers and children.”
Partnership, she highlighted, is paramount to the work of OAFLA and was extremely pleased with the collaboration between OAFLA and the GAVI Alliance, as both teams shared experiences in improving immunisation for children on the continent.
Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GAVI, Anuradha Gupta, said the 2016-2010 strategic framework for GAVI would guide its mission to save children’s lives and protect people’s health by increasing equitable use of vaccines in low-income countries for the next five years.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri