Global Institutions laud Nigeria’s Toyin Saraki, WHO AFRO’s Dr. Moeti, Tanzania’s Kikwete as African Vaccination Leaders
To mark the end of Africa Vaccination Week yesterday, the Gates Foundation, Johns Hopkins International Vaccine Access Center and other global institutions have celebrated African Vaccination Leaders who have excelled in advocating for transformative changes in vaccination coverage.
The Gates Foundation Africa has celebrated and highlighted three leading campaigners and experts in the field of vaccination – H.E. Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki, Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) and Vaccine Champion for Women Advocates for Vaccine Access (WAVA); Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa; and Dr. Jakaya Kikwete, former President of Tanzania.
H.E. Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki, who was also featured by Johns Hopkins International Vaccine Access Center and is a Special Advisor to the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Office for Africa, had led global calls for vaccination during Africa Vaccination Week, commenting:
“The rate of immunization should be treated as a national health emergency and a global health security issue. It is time that we took the lead domestically. As Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the first African Director-General of the WHO stated last week in his keynote IMF/WBG Spring Meetings speech, we must focus on mobilising domestic resources and consider external input as supplementary. Frontline health workers, like our MamaCare midwives, are best placed to lead this battle and will do so with political will and support from Government.”
“Vaccinations have the ability to protect not just an individual, but a 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. Health workers' efforts to increase immunization builds, therefore, the foundation for strong primary health care and is a route to universal health coverage. The desire for health for all, based on blanket vaccination coverage, is overwhelming – but families are currently being let down.”
Mrs Saraki praised fellow vaccination leaders Dr. Moeti and former President Dr. Kikwete as “pioneering game-changers in the field of vaccination” and joined frontline health workers at Lugbe Primary Healthcare Centre, Abuja, to administer Oral Polio Vaccines to children brought for their vaccine appointment. Mrs Saraki also donated insecticide-treated mosquito nets to mothers, to mark World Malaria Day.