Madagascar celebrates the introduction of pneumococcal vaccines

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Madagascar marked the introduction of pneumococcal vaccines into its national immunisation programme with a high level ceremony in the coastal town of Vatomandry attended by the Prime Minister, donors, health workers and local communities.

05 November 2012

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    Madagascar introduced pneumococcal vaccines into its routine immunisation as part of its celebrations of the 13th Mother and Child Health Week.
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    The coastal town of Vatomandry took centre-stage for the launch, with a high-level ceremony involving both the Prime Minister of Madagascar Jean Omer Beriziky and the Health Minister. 
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    More than four million children under the age of five and more than one million pregnant women will receive vital health interventions as part of Mother and Child Health Week.
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    "This is a great day for the children of Madagascar as they will be better protected against one of the major cause of pneumonia," said Marie-Ange Saraka-Yao, Director of the GAVI Programme Funding Team.
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    According to the World Health Organization, pneumonia is responsible for 18% of all under five deaths in Madagascar.
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    Pneumococcal vaccines will reduce "the morbidity and mortality caused by pneumococcus which is a major cause of meningitis, pneumonia, ear infections, sinusitis, bronchitis, septicemia," said the Minister of Public Health, Johanita Ndahimananjara.
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    "I want to thank all our partners who have never stopped supporting us," said Prime Minister Jean Omer Beriziky. "The ties that bind us together should be further strengthened for the sake of child survival and mothers."
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    "Since September 2012, the Ministry of Health and partners have intensified vaccination efforts in the country. We hope that these efforts will reduce the number of unvaccinated children in 2012 ," said UNICEF Representative, Steven Lauwerier.
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    The 13th edition of the Mother and Child Health Week involved all 2,534 basic health centers spread across Madagascar's 22 regions. More than 8,000 health workers were mobilised for the campaign.
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    The campaign includes free public interventions such as vitamin A supplementation, immunisation of children and child-bearing women, monitoring of the Extended Programme for Immunisation's target diseases or the screening of acute malnutrition.
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    GAVI's top six donors by contribution are the United Kingdom, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Norway, the United States, Italy and France.
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    The introduction of vaccines against pneumococcal disease has been made ​​possible through a funding mechanism called the Advance Market Commitment (AMC), which is funded by the governments of Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia, Norway and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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    GAVI has also supported the Government of Madagascar for the introduction of the one-in-five pentavalent vaccine.
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    Madagascar has also been approved for GAVI support to introduce rotavirus vaccines, which offer protection against one of the major causes of severe and acute diarrhoea.
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    Madagascar is one of a handful of countries to reduce its child mortality rate by 60 percent over the past two decades - in part thanks to a successful national immunisation programme.
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    GAVI support to developing countries in their immunisation efforts is essential to reach global health and development targets.
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