Côte d’Ivoire: AGIS continues mobilization efforts to prevent childhood pneumonia during African Vaccination Week 2017

Côte d’Ivoire: AGIS continues mobilization efforts to prevent childhood pneumonia during African Vaccination Week 2017

Article posted on July 14, 2017.

By collaborating with public figures and civil society actors, AGIS utilized health education to raise awareness of pneumonia vaccines

Main Points

  • Pneumonia is the second biggest killer of children under 5 years of age in Côte d’Ivoire, but families lack knowledge of protection, prevention, and treatment.
  • AGIS collaborated with partners to increase knowledge of pneumonia through an information campaign during African Vaccination Week.
  • AGIS continued its inspirational theme, “advocacy in action”, by implementing a vaccination campaign that reached 800 children and a health education event at a primary school.

By Mamadou Diallo, Counsel in Public Affairs for Association Graine d’Ivoire et Santé (AGIS)

The Association Graine d’Ivoire et Santé (AGIS) joined forces with partners to use African Vaccination Week (April 24-30, 2017) as an opportunity to raise awareness on Côte d’Ivoire’s second biggest killer among children under 5 years of age: pneumonia. AGIS and partners celebrated by marching in rhythm with AGIS’s past contributions to bring “advocacy in action” against pneumonia. The goal was to maintain the focus placed on vaccines earlier this year when country leaders across Africa endorsed the Addis Declaration on Immunization, which is a pledge to ensure that everyone in Africa experiences the full benefits of vaccines.

Over the past five years, under the leadership of its President, Mr. Aboubakar Sylla, AGIS has been working in the area of medical humanitarian aid with a focus on acute respiratory infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis, among children in sub-Saharan Africa. Recognizing the value of partnership in efforts to improve child health, AGIS collaborated with the Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene and the Ivorian Society of Pediatrics (SIP) during World Pneumonia Day 2016 (November 12). It was the first time key stakeholders in Côte d’Ivoire rallied together to advocate for pneumonia prevention and treatment.

African Vaccination Week (AVW) was an opportunity for AGIS and child health advocates to actively educate the public about fighting pneumonia. AVW is an annual event led and coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa. During the last week of April, alongside World Immunization Week, each country in the continent used the momentum from AVW to raise awareness of every child’s and woman’s right to protection from vaccine-preventable diseases.

In Côte d’Ivoire, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine and pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) are available to prevent many cases of pneumonia among children. However, poor knowledge of health information, including pneumonia prevention with vaccines, is an obstacle. With support and encouragement from the Minister of Health and Public Hygiene and Minister of Technical Education and Vocational Training, AGIS worked with partners to implement an information and vaccination campaign at a pediatric hospital and educate children at a primary school.

The information and vaccination campaign was held between April 25 and April 28, 2017 at the pediatric hospital in Port-Bouët (Abidjan). It began with a press conference and the inauguration of a photographic exhibition displaying various projects led by AGIS to improve maternal and child health in Côte d’Ivoire. With support from health care professionals at the pediatric hospital, as well as members of SIP and the Association of Ivorian Midwives (AIM), approximately 800 children were vaccinated against pneumonia.

Many child health advocates and families gathered at the information and vaccination campaign to support pneumonia prevention.

AGIS continued its inspirational theme, “advocacy in action”, during AVW by utilizing health education to increase knowledge of vaccination. Animator Tonton Bouba spoke to children at a primary school in the south of Cocody (Abidjan) about the life-saving and powerful effect of vaccines. Afterwards, 650 pupils participated in a sporting event that highlighted the importance of a healthy life. AGIS’s AVW efforts concluded with an advocacy meeting in Bingerville with members of the diplomatic community. During this final event, AGIS presented its contribution to the fight against pneumonia to stress the need for renewed political leadership, continued partnership and increased mobilization against Côte d’Ivoire’s second biggest killer among children under 5 years of age.

The momentum to improve access to vaccines continued during AVW with fruitful partnership in Côte d’Ivoire, as well as various efforts across the continent. The recent launch of the roadmap to guide the implementation of the Addis Declaration on Immunization at the Africa Health Forum (June 27 – 28, 2017) shows that the speed is increasing to bring an end to vaccine-preventable diseases. AGIS is among the various public, private, and community actors in Africa joining forces to make the Addis Declaration on Immunization a reality so that no child suffers from vaccine-preventable diseases like pneumonia.

Recommended Reading