It’s African Vaccination Week (24 – 30 April) in line with other World Health Organisation (WHO) Regions and the World Immunization Week.
The goal is to increase awareness of the importance of every person’s (children particularly) right to be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.
I’ve seen a few horror stories online about children getting very ill due to parents not opting to get their children vaccinated. There seems to be a trend where people are led to believe that there is some benefit in delaying vaccinations in children, however there is absolutely no research to back this up and immediately puts a child at risk of getting unnecessarily ill.
Vaccinations can in fact save children’s lives, and keep adults, communities and nations healthy. Vaccination safeguards families from the cycle of poverty, by increasing their resilience to disease. Yet, 1 in 5 children in Africa still do not receive all the necessary and basic vaccines.
This initiative is of vital importance, worldwide and the WHO outlines the reasons why:
“Immunization is one of the most successful and cost effective health interventions. It has been shown to prevent between 2- 3 million deaths every year and has reduced morbidity and mortality across the world in a safe and cost-effective manner.
From infants to senior citizens, immunization prevents debilitating illness, disability and death from vaccine-preventable diseases. When vaccines are combined with other health interventions such as vitamin A supplementation to boost children’s immune systems, provision of deworming medicine, growth monitoring, and distribution of insecticide-treated nets to prevent malaria, immunization becomes a major force for child survival.
In addition, the benefits of immunization are increasingly being extended to adolescents and adults, providing protection against life-threatening diseases such as influenza, meningitis, and cancers that occur in adulthood.
Vaccines provide benefits beyond health outcomes, including averted medical costs and reduced time spent by parents and health care workers caring for sick children. These savings accrue to families, communities and nations as improvements in education, economic growth and poverty reduction. One study reported that increased coverage of new and underutilized immunizations delivered in Gavi-eligible countries could deliver a rate of return on investment of 18% by 2020.”
Most South African hospitals will provide new Moms with a immunisation schedule, but if you don’t – please do ask. Or you could visit the Pampers website for a guideline. This modern medicine saves lives and our children need their little immune systems to be ready to protect against all the bad germs out there.
Join the global conversation about African Vaccination Week on social media by following #AVW17, #Vaccines- Work and #EveryShotCounts. I know I will be!