The Africa Vaccination Week (AVW), will be celebrated 23rd -29th of April 2022, towards the promotion of the use of vaccines to protect all Africans against diseases. The awareness drive which is in line with the world immunisation week, aims to keep immunization high on regional and national agendas through advocacy, partnerships and effective coordination of activities.
This year, the West African Institute of Public Health (WAIPH) with the support of the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health at Scale (PACFaH@Scale/PAS), a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) reinvestment health/social accountability project in collaboration with other partners will host a high-level symposium to mark the annual AVW on 27th of April 2022.
Major gains in vaccination have been made in the last two decades and the world now has vaccines capable of preventing more than 20 life-threatening diseases thereby extending longevity and assuring healthier lives. According to WHO in the Africa region during the 2021 Africa Vaccine Week, “Africa was declared wild polio-free in 2020. Over 40 African countries have eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus, and vaccines are making a huge impact on diseases like cervical cancer, hepatitis and Ebola.” In spite of these notable progress, vaccination within health systems in Africa which underpins its primary health care functions remains challenged. It is a human rights issue and a critical factor in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
One of the signposts of current COVID-19 pandemic is the reminder to the world of the power of vaccines to provide all the aforementioned advantages and thus give humanity a chance towards a prosperous future. This understanding served as a major catalyst for developing the Immunization Agenda 2030 (IA2030) in 2021, which sets an ambitious, overarching global vision and strategy for vaccines and immunization for the decade 2021–2030. The IA2030 has also comes at a time when global health security as occasioned by COVID-19, is on the front burner of issues being grappled with by governments across the globe. In addition to this, the introduction of a new WHO Primary Health Care Measurement Framework and Indicators: Monitoring Health Systems Through a Primary Health Care Lens, and as such IA2030 would require regional, country and partner contextualised setting of targets and milestones for the decade concerning the IA2030 goals. As countries attempt to contextualise and reorient their health systems across the principles of primary health care, this new framework responds to member States’ bid to monitor PHC functioning including immunisation, to accelerate movement towards universal health coverage and the other health-related SDGs.
Some recent topical global health conversations with potential to have affect global vaccination efforts including vaccines availability, global demand and manufacturing capacity and health systems capacity to deliver them, which have gained more traction in the wake of COVI-19 , are interrelated topics of decolonising aid, localisation of development programmes and marketshaping for growth of indigenous health care industries, such as vaccine manufacturing.