GAVI Champions Want Increased Vaccine Coverage in Under-Immunised Nations
By Nsikan Ikpe
Dr. Awele Elumelu, GAVI Champion for Africa and Founder of the Nigeria-based Avon Medical Practice, has joined other global health leaders at a Photo Exhibition organised by GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, to make the case for enhanced immunisation opportunities in under-served nations.
The event which was convened to call attention to the global challenge of uneven immunisation coverage and accordingly campaign for increased vaccine coverage in under-immunised nations, was tagged “Vaccine Heroes” and was held on September 10, 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland.
Following the announcement made earlier in January 2018 on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, of Dr. Elumelu as GAVI Champion for Immunisation in Africa, she was present in person at Geneva this week when the GAVI Photo Exhibition convened GAVI representatives who all reiterated their commitment to saving the lives of children around the world.
Speaking at the event, Elumelu commended the great efforts and achievements by the Vaccine Heroes, Health Workers and the GAVI team in spreading the message for the unfettered adoption of immunisation globally. In her words: “Immunisation is one sure way to prevent diseases, save our children and advance our economy. It is an honour to champion the importance of immunisation that saves the lives of children around Africa and the world. I am particularly pleased to be doing so with innovative organisations like the ones that make up the Gavi Alliance,” she said.
She further advocated the urgent and important need for the health of children and committed to working with the global Vaccine Alliance to expand the coverage of immunisation across Africa and in her native country, Nigeria.
“In our own capacity, at Avon Medical and Avon HMO, we are working to provide quality, effective and accessible healthcare and insurance to most citizens in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria. This is our Group’s way of contributing to the work of GAVI. I look forward to doing more work and bringing about more private and public partnerships to promote immunisation and better coverage for children in and out of Africa”.
In attendance at the event was Director General, World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus who spoke about the importance of vaccines as the backbone of health systems. According to him: “There is no health for all without vaccines for all”.
Organised by GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, the event gathered leaders in the global health sector, including Anuradha Gupta, Deputy CEO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; Clemens Adams, Director, United Nations; and Seth Berkley, CEO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
African nations are some of the most under-served nations in the immunisation arena at the moment.
Avon Medical is a multi-specialty private hospital group with centres in Surulere, Ikeja and Lagos Island, as well as in Delta State and Abuja.
Dr Awele Elumelu in the company of the other immunisation champions that gathered for the event in Geneva, Switzerland