Polio eradication back on the front burner in Africa
Information copied to Ghana Business News shows that immunization rates have seen a sharp decline since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic almost exactly three years ago.
As a result, there is an urgent need to bring vaccination rates back to their pre-pandemic levels to ensure that children are protected against vaccine-preventable diseases such as polio, measles and cholera.
The forum aims to re-mobilize Heads of State on the Addis Declaration on Immunization, to build momentum for immunization and polio eradication.
It is also to encourage support among policymakers across the continent for scaled-up policies and financing to address the alarming declines in immunization rates and the resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases.
Dignitaries expected to address this forum include President Macky Sall of Senegal, Adama Barrow, President of the Gambia, Umaro Sissoco Embaló, President of Guinea-Bissau, Dr. Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, Acting Director, Africa CDC and the World Health Organization’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
President Macky Sall, in his current capacity as African Union (AU) Chair, is hosting the forum to send a strong message on the importance of child immunization and polio outbreak response.
The event will, additionally, mobilize support from civil society organizations, scientists and leaders from across Africa.
The meeting is being organized by the Ministry of Health in Senegal and co-hosted by WHO, UNICEF, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, GPEI, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary International, Speak Up Africa and Enda Santé.
Some speakers at the forum would include Dr. Amadou Sall, General Administrator of the Pasteur Institute in Dakar, Dr. Richard Hatchett, Chief Executive Officer, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Dr. Rose Leke, Chair of the African Regional Commission for the Certification of the Eradication of Poliomyelitis (ARCC).
Others are Dr. Chris Elias, President, Global Development Division, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Michael McGovern, Chair, International PolioPlus Committee, Rotary International, Ms. Nguissali Turpin, Executive Director, Enda Santé and Prof. Anta Tal Dia, President, Scientific Committee, Forum on Immunization and Polio Eradication in Africa.
By Eunice Menka
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