Immunisation focus for development summit

Events to mark World Immunisation Week and World Malaria Day late last month have highlighted important health challenges facing populations in Southeast Asia, including Myanmar.

From April 24 to 30, immunisation week sought to raise awareness about the importance of vaccines in protecting people against disease and the role of immunisation in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

This year represents the halfway point of 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, immunisation prevents almost 3 million deaths every year, however an estimated 19.4 million children worldwide are still missing out on basic vaccines.

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

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According to the World Malaria Report 2016, new malaria cases fell by 21 percent and malaria mortality rates have been reduced by 29 percent between 2010 and 2015. Southeast Asia has seen the highest improvement in malaria case incidence and death rates decreasing by 46 percent and 54 percent, respectively, over the five-year period.

Both immunisation and malaria will be on the agenda at the third annual Aid & Development Asia Summit, which 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.

The summit, to be held in Nay Pyi Taw on June 14 and 15, will bring together leading health experts from civil society, UN agencies, governments, development banks, research institutes and the private sector 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 of the Ministry of Health and Sports, will give the keynote speech. Other confirmed speakers include Dr Yin Min, the deputy chief of party and technical adviser at Community Partners International; Daniel Crapper, country director for PSI Myanmar; Dr Tobe Makoto, a senior adviser for health financing and health systems at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); Penelope Campbell, chief for health and nutrition, young child survival and development at the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund; Dr Ni Ni, country director for Ipas Myanmar; and Dr Bella Monse, senior adviser on the Fit for School program Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

Strengthening health systems and closing the gap in access to vaccination through integration with other health services are among 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, World Health Organization (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.

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.

For more information, visit the summit’s website here

Frontier Myanmar is a media partner of the 2017 Aid & Development Asia Summit.

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