The Big Catch-Up on Vaccinations to ensure our world is fit for every child!
As World Immunization Week 2023 begins, The UNICEF State of the World’s Children 2023, For Every Child, Vaccination Report highlights the collective action needed to protect people, and especially children, from vaccine-preventable diseases. We must now commit to the catch-up needed as millions of children during the pandemic missed out on vital vaccines, while we work to strengthen our primary health care systems to deliver the necessary immunization, emboldening happier and healthier communities that are protected.
Immunization is one of the most impactful and cost-effective public health interventions available, and often brings children and families into contact with health systems, providing an opportunity for the delivery of other basic health services and laying the foundation for primary health care. Ensuring universal access to vaccines, creates a critical entry point for universal health coverage as well.
7 out of 10 children in Nigeria are not fully vaccinated by age two, with Nigeria being home to the second largest number of zero-dose children in the world. Nigeria must accelerate programming to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 3’s target of achieving more than 90% coverage of all basic vaccinations among children aged 12-23 months, and align the nation with WHO Global Vaccine Action Plan targets, as vaccine-preventable diseases like tuberculosis, measles and pneumonia continue to rank among the top killers of children under age five in the Global South.
My The Wellbeing Foundation Africa implements exemplary community based and trusted programming, with strategic frontline investment in supporting robust universal immunization advocacy that reaches the most vulnerable, to expand access to vaccines to improve child health and survival. Through our flagship Mamacare360 programme, WBFA midwives address the importance of routine immunization to mothers, and the use of vaccines to protect their children, building trust and access to complete essential immunization, with the WBFA Universal Health Child Health Record Book serving as an immunization record, which improves immunization rates, building accountability and transparency.
We are at a pivotal moment as we see the re-emergence of preventable diseases, and if we do not act now, millions of the world’s most vulnerable children will be left behind. Vaccination must be regarded as a national priority, as a national priority with multilateral support and global health diplomacy, as it protects not just an individual, but whole communities, laying the foundation to reach every person with the basic health services they need to thrive.