In his remarks, the Minister highlighted the country’s current immunization programme successes citing particularly progress made in vaccine management at all levels and the recent introduction of two vaccines: Pneumococcal Vaccine and Rotavirus Vaccine and the plan to introduce HPV and 2nd dose of measles vaccines in 2014. He further described the existing challenges in REACHING every District/REACHING every child and urged conference participants to deliberate on effective strategies to ensure that the African child is protected against the vaccine preventable diseases which will consequently reduce child morbidity and mortality leading to the achievement of MDG 4.
The WHO Representative to Tanzania, Dr. Rufaro Chatora, delivered a message on behalf of Dr Luis Gomes Sambo, WHO Regional Director for Africa. He began his remarks by commending the United Republic of Tanzania for its exemplary unwavering commitment towards reduction of preventable childhood illnesses and deaths. He further acknowledged the progress made by different African countries in increasing access to essential life-saving interventions citing achievements recorded in the region since the 3rd Annual Regional Conference held in Namibia including:
- Strong political commitment in strengthening national immunization programmes
- Implementation of locally tailored and innovative strategies to improve access to quality immunization services
- Introduction of new vaccines
- Countries’ commitment to eradicate polio
- Progress in research and technology for development of new vaccines
He concluded by recognizing and appreciating the support from governments, donors and partners including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the GAVI Alliance, UNICEF, Rotary International, CDC and USAID which have enabled the continent to realise profound progress in health and development in general.
The conference participants will over the three days deliberate on how to strengthen the delivery of immunization services in all Member States in the African Region. The outcomes of the conference are critical as the continent approaches the time when the global community will conduct the final evaluation of attainment of MDG health targets.