MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

Niger launches nationwide dual child immunization campaign

Niger recently became the fourth country globally to launch a nationwide vaccination campaign in children against pneumonia and diarrhea-related viruses, which account for one in three deaths of children under the age of five in the country.

Approximately one million children will be vaccinated against pneumococcal disease and rotavirus. Ghana, Tanzania and Burkina Faso have also launched simultaneous vaccine campaigns with the support of GAVI Alliance, a public-private health partnership founded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation committed to improving access to immunizations in poor countries.

The vaccine introductions are part of the World Health Organization and UNICEF's 2025 Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhea, which aims to end childhood deaths related to pneumonia and diarrhea by 2025.

According to the GAVI Alliance, pneumonia kills approximately two million children worldwide each year, and severe diarrhea kills 600 children under the age of five in Africa every day.

GAVI Alliance CEO Seth Berkley said the campaign will "not only save the lives of children, but also significantly reduce the health and economic burden rotavirus and pneumonia bring, thereby helping to reduce poverty and promote economic growth in Niger."