Doctor Hanintsoa Rakotoarimanga checks a mother’s immunisation record before giving the pentavalent vaccine at a health point in Isotry, a district of Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo.
Madagascar is one of just seven countries that managed to reduce its under-five mortality rate by more than 60% over the 20-year period, 1990–2009.
This shows that even in the most difficult of circumstances, immunisation and other basic interventions can play key roles in preventing disease and saving lives.
According to Dr Rakotoarimanga, the pentavalent vaccine is having an impressive impact in Madagascar. “Since we started to use the pentavalent vaccine, we have seen much fewer cases of pneumonia and meningitis,” she says.
The price of the pentavalent vaccine has consistently become more affordable since 2007, when most GAVI-supported countries switched over to this five-in-one vaccine.