ADDIS ABABA, Feb 5 Addis Ababa will host the first ever Ministerial-level Conference on Immunization in Africa, organized by the World Health Organization Regional Offices for Africa (AFRO) and the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO) in conjunction with the African Union (AU) Commission.

The conference, which will take place on Feb 24 and 25, is expected to bring together some 500 participants, including health and finance ministers, representatives of civic society organizations (CSOs), technical experts, policy-makers, non-governmental organization (NGOs) and other global stakeholders, says the Medical Officer of Immunization Vaccines Development at the WHO-AFRO, Dr. Richard Mihigo.

He said in a tele-conference with journalists here Thursday that the conference would provide an opportunity for governments and policy-makers in the health sector to demonstrate their commitment to the continental efforts to expand access to vaccines across Africa.

According to Miiihigo, since immunization is one of the most cost-effective solutions in global health, Africa should put it at the forefront of efforts to reach its full potential by improving health, driving economic growth, and empowering future generations.

Although some 50 countries in Africa have successfully introduced at least one new vaccine into their immunization programmes, many African countries have been slow to make progress on other nationally agreed-upon immunization targets during the past five years, he added.

One in five children in the continent still does not receive the vaccines they need, he indicated.

Source: ENA