The declaration calls for countries to increase political, financial investments in their immunisation programmes.

African heads of state have signed a declaration to increase the use of vaccines against infectious diseases in a bid to close the immunisation gap by 2020. The declaration was signed during the 28th African Union Summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

It comes one year after health ministers from 20 African countries signed a similar declaration during a ministerial gathering, also in Ethiopia.

The document commits countries to increasing domestic financial investments in order to deliver routine immunisations and roll out new vaccines.

The Addis Declaration on Immunisation calls for countries to increase political and financial investments in their immunisation programmes to ensure that children across the continent have access to vaccines.

TEN COMMITMENTS

Ten commitments were made by the countries; increasing vaccine-related funding, strengthening supply chains and delivery systems, and making universal access to vaccines a cornerstone of health and development efforts.

The show of support from Heads of State has been hailed as a significant step towards achieving universal access to immunisation.

Less than 15 African countries fund more than 50 per cent of their national immunisation programmes. But as Africa inches closer to eradicating polio, critical funding for immunisation through the polio eradication programme is expected to ramp down.

Still, three critical diseases — measles, rubella and neonatal tetanus — remain a big threat to the continent while at the same time many countries have fragile health systems that leave immunisation programmes vulnerable to shocks.

Read more here; http://www.nation.co.ke/health/African-heads-of-state-commit-to-promote-vaccination/3476990-3801914-13ioibm/index.html