Ultimately, preparing for outbreaks begins long before the first case and must entail a strong routine immunization system that provides vaccinations to all target groups, regular communication and education of the public, regular upskilling of health workers, strong surveillance, prepositioning and stockpiling vaccines and appropriate medicines.
The economic case is compelling: returns on investment for every child vaccinated are huge. Every $1 spent on vaccines brings a 16-fold return on investment — this climbs to a return of $44 for every $1 spent if we look at all the extended benefits that vaccination brings.
Providing care for the mother during pregnancy has huge implications not just for her health but also for the child she carries and her community. Many health problems in pregnant women can be prevented, detected and treated during antenatal care by trained health workers.
One in five children in the African region does not receive the vaccines they need, while immunization coverage for Africa has stagnated over the past three years and health systems remain weak. The global health community realizes the Reaching Every District (RED) approach has not been fully implemented in many countries, and did not reach all underserved. It is against this background that a gathering was convened last month to exchange best practices for achieving equitable immunization access in Africa.