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Call For More Immunisation Funding In Americas

UN Meeting Calls For More Funding Immunization Programmes In The Americas

New York, Sep 29 2006 4:00PM

With about one of every three children in Latin America and the Caribbean living in districts underserved for health care, a regional United Nations meeting today called for new funding to ensure immunization at more than 95 per cent in all districts and to meet the target of eliminating rubella and congenital rubella syndrome by 2010.

Health ministers at the UN Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Directing Council, meeting in Washington, unanimously adopted a document that also seeks fresh ways to finance programmes for countries to introduce new vaccines against rotavirus, pneumococcus, and human papillomavirus, as well as underutilized vaccines against seasonal influenza and yellow fever.

“Disturbing evidence from industrialized countries has indicated the vulnerability of successful public health programs, including immunization, to ‘defunding’ as the memory of childhood killer diseases fades,” the document said.

“Lapses in public vigilance in Australia, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom and other European countries resulted in dramatic drops in immunization coverage in the early 1990s. High-level policy changes and extensive and very costly programmatic efforts were required in each of these countries to restore immunizῡtion coverage to the 1980s levels, it noted.

Although the PAHO revolving fund, which helps countries buy at bulk prices, was used to purchase $154 million in vaccines last year, new generation vaccines will require an increase in its working capital to ensure PAHO’s continued ability to supply such medical services, the document added.

Estimated annual increases will require additional voluntary contributions from countries or donors since there is at present insufficient working capital to keep up with country demands for new vaccines like influenza and rotavirus, it noted.

“We still have about one of every three children in Latin America and the Caribbean living in underserved districts, and they all require equitable access to the benefits of immunization,” PAHO area manager for family and community health Gina Tambini said.

PAHO is the regional office for the Americas of the UN World Health Organization (WHO).


Ends

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