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Accelerating introduction of life saving vaccines for children

13 September 2023
Latest News Accelerating introduction of life saving vaccines for children

Today, government representatives from Chad, Guinea, Somalia and South Sudan come together to take part in a pivotal workshop, co-convened by Malaria Consortium, that will support efforts to introduce two vital vaccines, the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) and the rotavirus vaccine for the first time in these four countries. 

When introduced and scaled-up, these vaccines will have the potential to save lives of approximately 60,000 children under 5 years of age and avert around 2.4 million cases of severe pneumonia, meningitis, and diarrhoea across the four countries cumulatively from 2024 to 2030, significantly advancing each country's progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal for child survival. Despite their transformative potential, there have been a number of barriers, including the fragility and multiple public health emergencies, that have prevented these countries from submitting applications for these vaccines to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. All four nations have called for collective support in this endeavour. 

Malaria Consortium, alongside partners including Mérieux Foundation, Every Breath Counts, and Save the Children, have orchestrated this pivotal workshop in N’Djamena, Chad to bring together national, regional and international stakeholders to support health ministries to identify and resolve remaining barriers and forge strategies for the successful introduction and widespread implementation of PCV and the rotavirus vaccine. 

Jamshed Khan, Malaria Consortium’s Country Technical Coordinator for South Sudan said, “The pneumococcal vaccine (PCV) is a highly effective tool in saving lives lost to pneumonia in children by fighting pneumococcal pneumonia. In South Sudan, due to underfunding for the national immunisation programme, this vaccine is yet to be introduced. Our work with the country’s ministry of health is paving the way to introduce pneumococcal vaccines for the first time. Access to these vaccinations will prevent disease and poverty for the most vulnerable”.  

During the workshop, health ministries from the four countries will present their plans for vaccine introduction. Key topics include financial considerations, procurement and delivery logistics, healthcare workforce readiness, public messaging, safety monitoring, caregiver attitudes, and any other pertinent challenges. 

Leading health and financing agencies will also share the latest insights on pneumococcal disease epidemiology, lives saved analysis, financing options, Gavi application support, and best practices for introducing and sustaining high coverage of these life-saving vaccines. 

This collaborative effort signifies a monumental stride towards safeguarding the lives of countless children in Chad, Guinea, Somalia, and South Sudan. By addressing the challenges head-on, the workshop paves the way for a healthier, more resilient future for these nations. 

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