Maputo, 11 December 2023 – A high-level mission comprising Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and World Bank is scheduled to visit the Republic of Mozambique from 10 December, aiming to renew political commitment towards recovery and strengthening of routine immunisation.
During the official visit, the delegation is set to meet and engage with key stakeholders, including senior government officials, health partners and civil society organisations. The delegation will advocate for concrete measures to address critical factors affecting equitable access to immunisation services, including health financing, vaccine management and effective disease surveillance systems. The year 2023 was marked by multiple challenges for the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) in Mozambique, with the occurrence of multiple public health emergencies. Given the heightened exposure to cyclones and their impact on health systems, prioritising emergency response caused disruptions to routine immunisation.
“Gavi's visit comes at a time when the country is facing the challenge of reducing the number of children who have not received the first dose of vaccination from the National Vaccination Calendar, mainly in five provinces of the country (Niassa, Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Zambézia and Tete). Therefore, this visit will be an opportunity to strengthen our partnership so that primary health care is accessible and equitable in our country,” said Prof Dr Armindo Daniel Tiago, Minister of Health, Mozambique.
In a statement, David Marlow, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, noted: “Gavi and Alliance partners reaffirm commitment to support Mozambique’s immunisation efforts. The upcoming official visit presents an opportunity for sustained engagement, detailed conversations and the strengthening of our partnership towards our shared vision: a well-resourced and effective immunisation programme that improves health outcomes for the people of Mozambique.”
Despite the constraints and competing priorities, the country has achieved several milestones, including the development of a recovery plan to catch up children who missed vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic period and to strengthen health systems. Mozambique has also successfully responded to polio and cholera outbreaks; rolled out the first phase of measles-rubella vaccination campaigns; and has made important steps towards shifting from cholera outbreak response to preventive efforts.
These milestones were made possible thanks to coordination by the Ministry of Health, and the support and involvement of various sectors and partners, in particular:
For the WHO Representative in Mozambique, Dr Severin von Xylander, “Immunisation is an essential component of primary health care and an indisputable human right. Vaccines are also essential for preventing and controlling outbreaks of infectious diseases.”
According to Mrs Eva Kadilli, UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, “Children who have not received a single vaccine dose are likely to come from the most vulnerable, poorest communities. UNICEF will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Health, Gavi and partners to ensure every child is protected from disease, and that no child gets left behind.”
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