Over 11 million children nationwide to receive measles-rubella vaccine with GAVI support

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Accra, Ghana, 11 September 2013 – Ghana’s measles-rubella vaccination campaign, launched today with GAVI support, will target over 11 million children nationwide. The combined vaccine will protect children between the ages of 9 months and 14 years against two disabling and deadly diseases.

New vaccines

The campaign, which runs until 20 September, underscores Ghana’s commitment to accelerating access to immunisation and ensuring that all children nationwide are protected from life-threatening diseases.

Last year, Ghana became the first GAVI-supported country to introduce two vaccines simultaneously – against pneumonia and diarrhoea, two leading killers of children in developing countries. Next month, Ghana will introduce the vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV), the leading cause of cervical cancer, in two districts (Dangme West and Tamale Metro) as part of the HPV demonstration programme supported by GAVI.

Presidential commitment

Ghana’s investment in immunisation has received the full support of its President, John Dramani Mahama. President Mahama has personally committed to supporting GAVI’s mission to save children’s lives by increasing access to immunisation. Later this month during the UN General Assembly in New York, he will host an event with GAVI and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria on harnessing the power of global public-private partnerships in the post 2015 development agenda.

President Mahama has also agreed to play a key role in GAVI’s second replenishment to secure additional funding for its vaccination programmes and will co-chair GAVI’s upcoming Mid-term review (MTR) meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, which will update donors on GAVI’s progress since the 2011 replenishment meeting.

Lions Clubs mobilised

GAVI’s newest private sector partner, Lions Clubs International, is supporting Ghana’s measles-rubella campaign – the first in-country collaboration since the partnership was announced in July.

Lions Clubs volunteers helped fund and facilitate several meetings of local Ghanaian leaders on the importance of vaccination, and also conducted local media outreach to increase visibility of the vaccination campaign.

Lions Clubs members have also worked closely with Ghana’s EPI manager Dr Antwi-Agyei to coordinate support for the launch through the Ministry of Health with a coalition of civil society groups.

During the campaign, hundreds of Lions Clubs members will volunteer to encourage parents to have their children vaccinated, while also supporting work at local vaccination centres.

As part of its partnership with GAVI, Lions Clubs – the world’s largest service club organisation – is deploying its network of 1.35 million volunteers to support measles-rubella vaccinations like the one in Ghana, as well as raise US$ 30 million. The funds will be matched by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, bringing the total to US$ 60 million.

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