UNITE FOR CHILDREN

Immunization

What challenges lie ahead?

Having come so far in the last few decades, the challenge today is to keep up the momentum among governments, donors and health personnel until basic immunization services are extended to the more than 30 million children still without the most basic protection provided by vaccines. UNICEF is dedicated to reaching all children and women including those in remote locations, the urban poor and children caught amidst conflicts.

“We may not live in a particularly logical world, but immunization is one area where we MUST use our collective common sense. The world cannot stand by while a child does not get a simple intervention that can save her life.”  — UNICEF Executive Director, Carol Bellamy.

Securing long-term financial commitments from donors to pay for vaccines and for all personnel involved in the day-to-day effort is essential. Planning ahead has become even more critical because vaccine shortages are threatening to jeopardize immunization programmes. Changes in the market – mergers between large pharmaceutical companies and diverging vaccine usage among the industrial countries where children are now receiving a new, considerably more expensive battery of vaccines and developing countries – could disrupt UNICEF's supply of vaccines to the most vulnerable children.

High prices put some critical vaccines, such as Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and yellow fever, out of reach for many countries that need them most. Now UNICEF is working with GAVI to close this gap, to supply essential new and underused vaccines to the developing world.

“Ultimately, it will all depend on if the security is stabilized, if the civil service is paid and if the donors deliver on the money that they pledged. When you have a destabilized country, you have an economy of war and an economy of peace. If there is no cash going into the communities, if we don't pay the health staff, the porters and other support staff, these people will work for the warlords.”  – UNICEF Senior Health Advisor, Dr. Agostino Paganini, on immunization in Afghanistan.

While UNICEF has been successful in negotiating Days of Tranquility in many war-torn countries for the polio eradication effort, the lives of health workers are still at risk in some volatile regions. Many of those working on the frontlines delivering immunization services are real heroes, who work with very little pay and under considerable hardship to protect and save children’s lives.


 

 

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