Key Result for Children
What’s at stake?
West and Central Africa has the world’s lowest childhood vaccination coverage, and diseases that can be prevented by vaccination are responsible for many preventable child deaths. An estimated six million of the 18 million children born in West and Central Africa every year are deprived of life-saving vaccines during their first year of life.
Low vaccination coverage leads to frequent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases across the region, which disrupt the delivery of routine health care and divert scarce human and financial resources for health from other development priorities.
Implementing routine immunization programmes with a business-as-usual approach is no longer enough.
In West and Central Africa, UNICEF supports the adoption of immunization Plus – an approach that integrates immunization services with other essential services for children such as birth registration, vitamin A supplementation, growth screening, deworming and pre-positioned oral rehydration salts with zinc through an accelerated response.
Immunization Plus uses routine immunization as an entry point to enable UNICEF and partners to address multiple child deprivations and harness available resources, expertise and experience across various sectors and programmes.
In West and Central Africa, UNICEF will carry out these integrated strategies to accelerate progress toward change.
- Mobilizing high-level government leaders to recommit to immunization as a public good and a basic right of every child – for example, by supporting high-level national forums on immunization in priority countries. These forums help to galvanize political leadership and foster engagement by citizens and partners.
- Collaborating with regional bodies to strengthen monitoring and accountability mechanisms for tracking the performance of countries on immunization and other child-related interventions. This data is used to identify unreached children and the most cost-effective strategies for reaching them.
- Helping countries to develop investment cases for immunization Plus to better understand the resources needed and identify potential funding sources. We support national governments to map out key stakeholders, initiatives and investments related to immunization and other social programmes, and we foster convergence, alignment and complementarity to optimize results.
- Supporting the roll out of innovative approaches and interventions which aim to: strengthen local governance and accountability; support community-managed registers to account for every child and pregnant woman in the community and facilitate individualized follow-up; improve immunization supply chain systems and institutionalization of community-level monitoring to enable communities to hold themselves and service providers accountable.