London – The last week of April every year is immunisation week, which brings people together to discuss and highlight the significance of vaccines and how they can help people live a better life by protecting them from many diseases.
Vaccines have proven to change lives allowing children to live a life free from disability and disease.
This year the focus was on “The Big Catch-Up” as the World Health Organization works with partners to protect children against diseases.
However, since the pandemic in 2019, there has been a major setback in vaccinating children.
UNICEF says 67 million children miss out entirely or partially on routine immunisation between 2019 and 2021.
In addition, Relief Web reports that 12 million of the 67 million are children in Eastern and Southern Africa.
This is because the Covid-19 pandemic hit primary healthcare in Africa even more, with lack of workers and equipment as well as resources a shortage in medicines and vaccines has played a role in the decline in immunisation considerably.
Therefore, the consequences include health risks and outbreaks of unpreventable diseases, especially with the rise of diseases like measles, cholera, and poliovirus in Africa.
This is also going to impact the Sustainable Development Goals 3, immunisation for health and wellbeing, which is the most effective way to save lives.
Despite the health risks, politics and policies play a huge role.
There must be a political will at all levels within the African continent and the rest of the world to vaccinate and protect children from preventable diseases.
The right donors, policies and leadership are needed to recognise the urgent situation.
This is not just a health issue, but an economic one too.
There must be a suitable allocation of money that is urgently required that will save childrens lives.
Moreover, with the lack of immunisation programmes, action must be taken, and programmes must be expanded especially for women who are in the health force.
African leaders need to work together and harder so that the continent is protected from diseases.
Overall, so much more needs to be done and now is the time.