Many people, particularly children, in the African countries die from vaccine-preventable diseases like measles, whooping cough, polio, rubella and tetanus. Vaccination is one of the most cost effective health interventions to avoid deaths due to such diseases. This year, the African Vaccination week is being observed from 23-29 April under the theme ‘’Saves Lives, Prevent disabilities. Vaccinate’’. During this week many international organisations, development partners, private philanthropists and NGOs will be advocating the significance of strengthening vaccination services in the African region.
A spokesperson from Muslim Aid said: “More than 30 million children are unimmunized, which increases the likelihood of catching these diseases later in life and putting their local population at serious risk. This year’s theme for African Vaccination Week reaffirms the need and importance of vaccination in Africa. Muslim Aid implements various vaccination programmes to protect communities from being exposed to diseases.”
Muslim Aid implemented an immunization programme to vaccinate 740,000 children against measles, polio and whooping cough in Somalia. In collaboration with UNICEF, Muslim Aid Somalia also held an awareness event in the Madina District in 2012 by displaying posters about Malaria control and holding discussions around interventions. Meetings with children and families were organised in Sierra Leone by Muslim Aid partner Islamic Dawah Training Centre to give advice on reducing the risk of catching Cholera. Muslim Aid also participated at the World Bank Roundtable in Washington DC on Neglected Tropical Diseases which looked at ways NTDs can be prevented. The Charity has also an ongoing Malaria vaccination programme in Sudan.