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Researchers Examine Performance Of Africa’s Expanded Programme On Immunization

In a paper published in PLoS Medicine last week, researchers from the Vaccines for Africa Initiative at the University of Cape Town’s Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine examine the performance of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) in Africa since its inception in 1974. “With the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approaching, it is necessary for Africa to take stock, critically assess its position, take ownership of the regional and country-specific problems, and develop precise strategies to overcome the challenges identified,” the authors write in the report, adding, “There is need for increased immunization systems strengthening, as many are plagued by weak infrastructure and shortage of skilled human resources”; “[m]ore affordable and adapted vaccines need to be made available”; and “[i]ncreased political and financial commitments from African governments are key factors for both maintaining current achievements and making additional progress for EPI in Africa” (3/19).