World Polio Day: CSOs galvanize action to improve local funding for Immunization

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Civil society organizations across Africa continues to call for local investments on Immunization

2017 has seen the lowest case count of polio recorded in history, even though the job is not yet done. Today, on World Polio Day, civil society organizations across Africa are calling on governments to finish the job on polio. Additionally, as polio funding begins to ramp down in Africa, it is imperative for governments to prioritize domestic investment in routine immunization programs.

ONE, immunization advocates and other women groups have continued to call for more local funding to bridge the gap for immunization.

Internationally, civil society organizations continue to galvanize action to improve funding for immunization and sustain the almost won battle against Polio.

The 33 Days to Power Up Immunization campaign, which launched during the International Day of the Girl Child on 11 October, aims to build momentum over the course of the month to hold governments accountable for the promises they made to support immunization, including by endorsing the Addis Declaration on Immunization earlier this year at the African Union Summit.

The campaign is an initiative of Civil Society Organizations in over ten countries (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Uganda). Fourteen days after it was launched, the campaign continues to join global efforts to call for continued vigilance to Polio, routine immunization programs and stronger health systems.

Polio cases have been reduced by 99.9% worldwide since 1988. Fewer than 40 cases worldwide were reported for all of 2016, thanks to the 10 billion doses of oral polio vaccine that have been administered since 2000.

“We cannot rest until polio transmission is interrupted and there are zero cases for at least three consecutive years.” Says Salisu Musa Muhammad, Deputy Director at Community Health and Research Initiative in Nigeria, as they have been actively calling the attention of the government performance on budgeting in immunization.

One of three countries still endemic for polio Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, one is in Africa. Although Nigeria has not reported any cases of polio since the August 2016 outbreak, it is possible that the poliovirus is continuing to spread undetected in the Lake Chad region given ongoing inaccessibility, surveillance gaps and a fluid security situation. To stop the outbreak and respond to the ongoing risk in the area, Nigeria and neighboring countries have implemented large-scale vaccination campaigns.

“Global and national efforts to eradicate polio have been significant and sustained. This is why we are so close.” Boubacar Sylla, coordinator of the civil society platform POSSAV in Guinea. “However, today as with the eradication of polio, comes the timely reduction of resources allocated to polio. Polio resources has for many countries supported the cost of routine immunization and strengthened health services. With the resources allocated to polio reducing, countries will have to ensure that they increase their support to routine immunization.”

In January 2017, African Heads of States endorsed the Addis Declaration on Immunization, through which they acknowledged that despite their endorsement of the Global Vaccine Action Plan, they are largely off track. The ADI reinforces their commitment at the highest level of political engagement.

These political commitments should turn into adequate policies as well as concrete budget allocations to achieve universal access to immunization. To ensure that this time, countries get or stay on tract, civil society organizations will continue to track the vaccines, the finances and the legislation.

The 33 days to Power Up Immunization campaign is a continuation of what was started with the Africa Vaccination Week and World Health Assembly.

Signed by,

  1. Concern Health Education Project (Ghana),
  2. Muslim Family Counseling Services (Ghana),
  3. AFRIVAC (Senegal),
  4. Community Restoration Initiative Project (Uganda),
  5. Community Health and Research Initiative (Nigeria),
  6. Nigerian Women Agro Allied Farmers Association (Nigeria),
  7. PROVARESSC (Cameroon),
  8. Coalition 15 (Cameroon),
  9. KANCO (Kenya)
  10. FENOS-CI (Côte d’Ivoire),
  11. Public Health Initiative Liberia (Liberia),
  12. POSSAV (Guinea),
  13. Malawi Health Equity Network (Malawi),
  14. Children Advocacy Forum Sierra Leone (Sierra Leone),
  15. Confederation of Meningitis Organizations (CoMo),
  16. Niyel.

Join the global conversation about 33 Days to Power Up Immunization on social media by following #Vaccineswork, #Endpolio, #PowerUpImmunization, #33Days.

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