Despite tremendous global gains on access to immunization, Africa is falling behind on the goals outlined in the Global Vaccine Action Plan. One in five children on the continent still does not receive all the life-saving vaccines they need, and fewer than 15 African countries fund more than 50% of their national immunization programs. To accelerate progress on immunization in Africa, GHS supported the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Offices for Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean to organize the first-ever Ministerial Conference on Immunization in Africa (MCIA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2016.
1 in 5 children in Africa does not receive basic life-saving vaccines.
GHS worked with WHO and its partners to convene ministers, policymakers, technical experts and advocates around the goal of strengthening national and regional commitments to immunization. GHS developed and managed the meeting agenda, which featured in-depth sessions on topics including country ownership, sustainable financing and community demand for immunization. To generate awareness of the challenge and the actions needed to accelerate progress, GHS produced a report on the status of immunization in Africa, and brought 19 journalists from across the continent to the conference to learn about and report on the issue.
MCIA was a galvanizing moment for immunization in Africa, bringing together more than 1,000 stakeholders from 70 countries and generating media coverage in leading outlets across the continent and around the world. The conference culminated in the Addis Declaration on Immunization – signed by representatives from 49 African countries – which outlines 10 specific commitments to increase access to immunization. Civil society leaders, religious leaders and parliamentarians also issued statements of support for the Declaration. Since MCIA, GHS has continued to work with WHO and its partners to develop a strategy to support the implementation of the Declaration and make universal access to immunization a reality in Africa.