Nigerian Vaccine Summit An Opportunity To Translate Political Will Into Action

In this post in the Huffington Post Blog, Orin Levine, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC), reports on the Nigerian Vaccine Summit, where Nigeria’s leaders will meet this week to discuss children’s health in the country. “With the world’s second largest number of child deaths each year, many of which are due to diseases that could be prevented with vaccines, yet with immunization coverage rates that are lower than many other countries in the region, Nigeria has a major opportunity to save lives by raising immunization coverage and introducing new vaccines against pneumonia and diarrhea, the leading killers of children worldwide,” he writes. Levine recounts progress made in recent years to address immunization and child mortality, but notes that “more remains to be done.”

Levine provides an overview of the findings of a study (.pdf) released by IVAC this week “that identifies the six main barriers keeping vaccines from reaching Nigerian children and recommends packages of solutions tailored to overcoming them.” He notes, “As our Landscape Analysis of Routine Immunization in Nigeria (LARI) shows, these barriers can be overcome with dedicated funding, coordinated effort and importantly, political will.” Levine concludes, “On Monday and Tuesday, Vice President Namadi Sambo will host leaders from all over the country to put forth an action plan to address these barriers and get vaccines to children across Nigeria, with the goal of scaling up access to reach all kids by 2015. … The challenge will then be to turn that well-intentioned political will into a well-executed plan with measurable impacts on Nigeria’s children and communities” (4/13).