The Special Advisor to the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) to the World Health Organization regional office for Africa (WHO AFRO), Mrs Toyin Saraki has said that an increase of vaccine coverage as designed by WHO in low- and middle-income countries would prevent 24 million people from falling into poverty by 2030.
Saraki disclosed this on Wednesday (May 23, 2018) in her address at Geneva during the launch of the business case for WHO Immunization Activities in Africa.
Addressing the world’s stakeholders in the health sector during the 71st World Health Assembly, Geneva, Mrs Saraki hinted that the WHO’s 2030 immunization plan would also save over 1.9 million lives and generate $58 million.
“Achieving the WHO’s 2030 immunization ambition will save more than 1.9 million lives over the next decade and generate $58 million of economic benefits. I commend the WHO for presenting an overwhelming business and moral case for immunization” she said.
Mrs Saraki who joined some senior senior WHO figures, including Dr. , and Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, at the meeting, described vaccination as an important weapon against the outbreak of Ebola in the DRC and agreed that the WHO business case reflected a commitment to accountable and successful WHO immunization activities.
“I welcome the WHO business case for immunization launched today. As Special Advisor to the WHO Africa regional office, I believe that it demonstrates a critical commitment to strengthening life-saving immunization across the continent.
“Vaccination in some African countries, including Nigeria, should be regarded as a national priority, as it protects not just an individual, but a whole community. An increase of vaccine coverage in low- and middle-income countries by 2030 would prevent 24 million people from falling into poverty due to health expenses” she added.
“As Dr Tedros today demonstrated, health workers’ efforts to increase immunization builds the foundation for strong primary health care and is a route to universal health coverage”
She thanked the WHO for clarifying its transformation plan, saying that Nigeria could be in danger of falling through the gap of the transition.
Saraki therefore urged the management of the WHO to consider Nigeria for the provision of special category as a global health security issue in terms of infectious diseases and as well considered the need to assist the capacity building of the private sector to bring them up to speed and thereby be able to step into the breach.
“It tells us that we must strengthen civil society and the private sector to mobilize domestic resources. I would like to add my voice to the request for Nigeria to be given a special category as a global health security issue in terms of infectious diseases and I further suggest that the WHO country offices consider assisting the capacity building of the private sector to bring them up to speed and thereby be able to step into the breach” she added.
in his comment, Director General of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said “We have released this business case to map out how WHO will better support countries to strengthen their national immunization plans.
He emphasised that immunization is an important building block of strong primary health care and universal health coverage.