Senegalese children to benefit from pneumococcal and measles-rubella vaccines

Senegal rota vaccine

Credit: GAVI/2002.

Geneva, 5 November 2013 – Children in Senegal are set to benefit from two new vaccines against deadly diseases which will be introduced across the country from today.

The West African country will begin protecting its children with pneumococcal vaccine, which tackles one of the leading causes of childhood pneumonia, and measles-rubella vaccine.

“Senegal is investing in the health of its children by protecting them from these three potentially fatal diseases, said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Alliance. “We want to see children benefitting from the power of vaccines no matter where in the world they live.”

“These introductions are very important for Senegal because children are dying every day from these vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Awa Marie Coll Seck, Senegal Health Minister. “I am happy that we have been able to introduce these vaccines for our children with GAVI Alliance support.”

Pneumococcal disease is one of the leading causes of pneumonia, the most common vaccine-preventable killer of children under the age of five. Measles still claims approximately 160,000 lives around the world each year, mainly in developing countries.

Rubella, also commonly known as German Measles, is a contagious disease which has relatively minor effects on children but if a woman is infected during pregnancy it can lead to serious harm to her unborn child, including deafness, intellectual impairment and death.

Senegal plans to introduce pneumococcal vaccine into its routine child vaccination schedule immediately while the measles-rubella introduction will initially begin as a campaign before moving in to routine immunisation from the beginning of 2014.

Senegal is the 34th GAVI-eligible country to introduce PCV into its routine immunisation programme since the GAVI Alliance began funding it in December 2010. By rapidly scaling up roll-out to more than 50 countries, GAVI and its partners could avert more than 500,000 deaths by 2015 and up to 1.5 million deaths by 2020.

The pneumococcal vaccine is available in Senegal thanks to GAVI’s innovative Advance Market Commitment (AMC). The AMC provides incentives for manufacturers to produce large quantities of pneumococcal vaccine which can then reach developing countries as much as a decade earlier than they historically would have done.

The AMC is funded by Canada, Italy, Norway, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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