Role of immunisation in sustainable development and health resilience

Role of immunisation in sustainable development and health resilience

Marked on 24-30 April 2017, World Immunisation Week raises awareness about the importance of vaccines in protecting people against disease and the role of immunization in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. This year is also represents half of the way through the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP), which aims to provide universal access to immunisation by 2020 and avert millions of deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), immunisation prevents almost 3 million deaths every year, however an estimated 19.4 million children worldwide are still missing out on basic vaccines.

Quality and use of data, better access to routine immunisation services for displaced populations, strong health systems and community involvement are some of the key challenges essential to achieving results in immunisation coverage. Integrating immunisation with other health services, such as postnatal care for mothers and babies as well as fostering health systems so that vaccines continue to be given even in times of crisis can help expand access to immunisation.

The week also coincides with the World Malaria Day, celebrated on 25th April every year. In 2015, the disease claimed the lives of an estimated 429 000 people and one child died from malaria every 2 minutes.

WHO has put a spotlight on prevention as a strategy for reducing the burden of the disease and for attaining global malaria targets. According to the World Malaria Report 2016, new malaria cases fell by 21% and malaria mortality rates have been reduced by 29% (2010-2015). Southeast Asia has seen the highest improvement in malaria case incidence and death rates decreasing by 46% and 54%, respectively, over the 5-year period.

Amongst the prevention tools that made a measurable difference in the fight against malaria, insecticide-treated nets have had the greatest impact preventing 69% of all cases. ​WHO also annouced the first malaria vaccine to be tested in Africa starting in 2018. 

"The prospect of a malaria vaccine is great news. Information gathered in the pilot program will help us make decisions on the wider use of this vaccine," said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's regional director for Africa, in a statement. "Combined with existing malaria interventions, such a vaccine would have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives in Africa."

In light of the World Immunisation Week and World Malaria Day on 25th April, the 3rd annual Aid & Development Asia Summit will focus on strengthening health resilience in Southeast Asia through innovation and cross-sector partnerships to advance vaccination coverage and access to life-saving prevention and treatment.

Leading health and immunisation experts from civil society, UN agencies, governments, development banks, research institutes and the private sector will gather at the Aid & Development Asia Summit on 14-15 June 2017 to provide an update on innovations and best practice in health programmes for disease prevention and control in Southeast Asia. Dr. Thet Khaing Win, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health and Sports, Myanmar, has confirmed his participation as a keynote speaker at the Aid & Development Asia Summit.

Strengthening health systems and closing the gap in access to vaccination through integration with other health services are amongst key priorities for WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank and UNAIDS in the region. Tackling communicable diseases and improving maternal and child health through technologies and public-private partnerships will be explored in a discussion with Dr Stephan Paul Jost, Country Representative, WHO, Dr Aye Yu Soe, Senior Public Health Officer, Three Millennium Development Goal (3MDG), United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and Charles Nelson, Chief Executive Officer, Malaria Consortium.

They join other confirmed speakers on health issues, including:

  • Dr Tobe Makoto, Senior Advisor, Health Financing and Health Systems, Human Development Department, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
  • Dr Yin Min, Deputy Chief of Party and Technical Advisor, Community Partners International
  • Daniel Crapper, Country Director, PSI Myanmar
  • Penelope Campbell, Chief, Health and Nutrition, Young Child Survival and Development (YCSD), United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF)
  • Dr Ni Ni, Country Director, Ipas Myanmar
  • Dr Bella Monse, Senior Advisor, Fit for School, Technical Assistance for Effective School Health, Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

To see full list of speakers, please click here

Immunisation is crucial to support disease prevention programmes and achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The Aid & Development Asia Summit aims to foster innovation and collaboration between government, aid agencies, UN, investors and the private sector in order to address inadequate access to healthcare and close the gap in access to proven prevention measures.

The Aid & Development Asia Summit would like to thank its partners in the healthcare industry, including B Medical Systems, Procter & Gamble, NRS International, NRS Relief and TANA Netting. To find out more about our partners, or how you can get involved, please click here.

To learn more about health related issues in Southeast Asia and take action to make a difference, email Alina O’Keeffe at with a request for participation.

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