The roadmap to guide African nations implement Addis Declaration on Immunization was officially launched during the recent inauguration of the Africa Health Forum in Kigali, Rwanda. It was developed in collaboration with member states, African Union Commission, World Health Organization Office African Region (WHO AFRO), Eastern Mediterranean Region (WHO EMRO) and immunization partners.

One in five children in Africa still lack access to all vaccines, leaving them vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases.  The new document, titled Roadmap for Implementing the Addis Declaration on Immunization: Advocacy, Action, and Accountability, outlines strategies for countries to increase national ownership and accelerate progress toward universal access to immunization.

The strategies include: generating and sustaining political commitment and funding; strengthening technical capacity and overcoming barriers to access; and closely monitoring progress.

“Vaccines are effective public health tools available and when children are given a healthy start, communities thrive and economies grow,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “The ADI roadmap will help guide and drive progress toward ensuring universal access to immunization for all children in Africa, no matter who they are or where they live.”

“Country ownership is more important than ever before to ensure that we sustain and build on the hard-fought gains we have made and by making continued political, financial and technical investments now, Africa can achieve a generation free from vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Dr Mahmoud M. Fikri, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.

The ADI provides concrete commitments – from increasing domestic vaccine financing to addressing supply chain challenges – through which nations can increase access to immunization and strengthen health systems in line with other existing efforts, particularly the Global Vaccine Action Plan.

The ADI was initially drafted and signed by ministers and other high-level representatives at the Ministerial Conference on Immunization in Africa in February 2016. Heads of State from across Africa endorsed the ADI at the 28th AU Summit in January 2017.

“Leaders at all levels of government have identified universal access to immunization as an urgent priority and an achievable goal,” said HE Ms Amira Elfadil Mohamed Elfadil, Commissioner for Social Affairs of the AU Commission.