The last week of April is commemorated annually by WHO and its partners globally as World Immunization Week (WIW). In synchronization with the WIW, the Africa Vaccination Week (AVW) is celebrated at the same period with focus on strengthening immunization programmes in the African Region by increasing awareness of the importance of every person’s (particularly every child and woman) need and right to be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.
2019 marks the 9th AVW and was themed: Protected Together. Vaccines work!
AFENET/CDC/NSTOP supported the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to organize an immunization outreach as part of activities to commemorate the Africa Vaccination Week. The outreach which was held at the Police Barrack Mpape, FCT-Abuja, Nigeria on the 24th of April 2019 was preceded by a flag off ceremony chaired by Dr Dorothy Nwodo, Director, Disease Control and Immunization at NPHCDA. Partners present were, Dr Bolu Omotayo, Director, Immunization CDC Nigeria, Dr Ali Daniel (WHO) and Dr Ndadilnasiya Endie Waziri, National Coordinator, NSTOP.
The success of the outreach was evidenced by the early turn out and enthusiastic participation of hundreds of women, men and children in the immunization exercise who would not be deterred by the heavy rainfall which lasted most of the night before the event at dawn.
Delivering her goodwill message, National Coordinator of the National Stop Transmission of Polio Program (NSTOP) at the African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) Dr. Ndadilnasiya Endie Waziri addressed the participants,
“I see mothers, I see the children. Let’s know that vaccination protects the children, we want to stay protected together. Beyond today, ensure to take your children to get vaccinated in a health facility. Ensure that if you have any child that is less than 1 year old, the child does not skip any of the scheduled vaccination. When you give birth to a child, ensure that immediately that child is born, demand for the vaccination. There is a vaccination that’s given at birth, demand for it. Ask the health care worker to give your child that vaccination. Don’t go home without the child getting vaccinated and when you start, do not stop. Beyond the Africa Vaccination Week, Mothers, pregnant women, ensure you attend antenatal care, go to the clinic. When labour starts, you find that clinic and give birth in a health facility”
The 9th Africa Vaccination Week aimed at uniting the African Region of the World Health Organization (WHO) to strengthen immunization services and systems so that everyone everywhere is protected from vaccine preventable diseases. It also emphasized the contribution that everyone can make towards this cause. Governments, Parliaments and civil societies were called upon to keep immunization high on their political agendas and to translate laudable political commitments, such as the Addis Declaration and its 10 commitments, into tangible action.