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.