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Immunisation drive worldwide

Tuesday April 26th, 2011

A global drive is under way to boost vaccination rates of children.

In Europe, health officials are promoting the benefits of measles vaccination - while in many Asian countries health workers are pressing on with the campaign against polio.

Immunisation Week is said to involve up to 180 countries, mainly in Europe, the Americas, Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean and the western Pacific.

World Health Organisation director general Dr Margaret Chan said: "With all the positive cooperation, innovation and collaboration that exist, we are at risk of losing many of the gains that have been made and forgoing the additional benefits that are within reach.

"For example, the recent outbreaks of measles, pertussis and polio in different parts of the world have made us all the more aware of the work that remains to be done."

She added: "I believe Immunisation Week will have a significant impact on emphasising the need to remain vigilant against vaccine-preventable diseases – even those that we do not see within our communities."

Bill Gates, of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - which is pouring billions of dollars into the project - added: "These simple, low-cost tools can save the lives of an estimated 1.4 million children each year and prevent thousands more from paralysis and disability.

"Vaccines are one of the best long-term investments to prevent disease and give children a healthy start to life.

"I hope that families everywhere will help celebrate Immunization Week by joining community activities to raise awareness of the value of vaccines because, simply put, vaccines save lives.”

Tags: Africa | Child Health | Europe | World Health

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