SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

Countries showcase immunization efforts at Dakar conference

Officials from 17 countries discussed the successful increase of immunization funding on Monday at a gathering organized by the Sabin Vaccine Institute's Sustainable Immunization Financing Program.

The officials shared how their governments' budget allocations for national immunization programs were helping advance immunization efforts at a two-day conference in Dakar, Senegal. These efforts were shown to be due in part to greater political advocacy towards financing goals set up in the Global Vaccine Action Plan, which attempts to have countries fully finance immunization programs by 2020.

"We cannot overlook the power of vaccines," Dr. Ciro de Quadros, the executive vice president at the Sabin Vaccine Institute, said. "Immunization is one of the most effective and affordable investments that a country can make in its citizens. As nations increase investment in vaccination programs, they are taking essential measures to save lives while also stimulating productivity and accelerating economic growth."

The conference encouraged an open exchange of strategies and best practices that have helped the officials' countries increase commitments to fund national immunization programs. There were also panel discussions where participants presented their legislative activities, conducted peer assessments and discussed innovations in financing, budgeting and advocacy.