22 April 2013 - The third African Vaccination Week (AVW) will be celebrated from 22–28 April 2013 under the theme “Save lives. Prevent disabilities. Vaccinate”.
All 46 Member States of WHO in the African Region including Sierra Leone are expected to fully participate in this year’s edition in order to strengthen immunization programmes by drawing attention to, and increasing awareness of the importance of every person’s (particularly child and woman’s) need and right to be protected against vaccine-preventable diseases; and also to receive other high impact public health interventions.
A regional launch is planned to take place in Kampala, Uganda on 27 April to coincide with the formal introduction, by that country, of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) into its national routine immunization schedule. PCV was launched in Sierra Leone in 2011 to avert infant and child deaths due to pneumonia.
The National Launch of AVW will take place in Sierra Leone on 22 April to mark start of the interventions.
The third AVW is being celebrated at a time when significant progress is being made in improving immunization coverage in the African Region through the “Reaching Every Child in Every Community” approach and refocusing on the core elements of the immunization system
“We are delighted with the high and growing profile of the African Vaccination Week which is yet another opportunity for us to underscore the proven life-saving power of vaccines, and to encourage vaccination of children, adolescents and adults against deadly diseases”, says Dr Luis Sambo, the WHO Regional Director for Africa.