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Expensive vaccines hindering immunization efforts in Africa - MSF

Expensive vaccines hindering immunization efforts in Africa - MSF

Protection of children

The humanitarian medical organisation MSF has raised concerns about the high cost of vaccines.

The organisation says the inflated price is hindering access to vaccines for poor countries. MSF further says that they are struggling to introduce new vaccines to protect children against deadly diseases.

According to the organisation, it is now 68 times more expensive to vaccinate a child than in 2001.

We are frustrated that we are unable to provide some of the most critical vaccines to our patients.

This was highlighted at the inaugural Ministerial-level meeting on immunization in Africa held from February 24-25 in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

Dr. Myriam Henkens, the International Medical Coordinator at MSF said: ‘‘We are frustrated that we are unable to provide some of the most critical vaccines to our patients because they remain priced out of reach, or not available in needed supply, and we hear the same frustration from governments consistently repeated in various global discussions.’‘

During the meeting, Health Ministers from several countries pledged to improve access to vaccines so as to reduce child mortality, morbidity and disability.

‘‘The Ministerial Conference achieved its goal of uniting leaders from across Africa behind the single goal of reaching every child with the vaccines they need. Now, we will carry this momentum forward from Addis Ababa, stay accountable to our commitments and close the immunization gap once and for all,’‘ said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

Immunisation is considered one of the most cost-effective medical interventions in public health. Nevertheless, the MSF reports that 2 million people die annually from illnesses which can be prevented through vaccination.

Furthermore, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says that in Africa, one in every five children does not receive basic vaccines.