Coming soon: Pneumonia vaccine in Uganda

A pneumococcal vaccination in Sierra Leone. Photo by: Edmund Makiu / UNICEF

Pneumococcal immunization with GAVI support  will be rolling out in Uganda on Saturday, April 27, a source from the alliance told Devex.

Uganda will be the 24th country to introduce the vaccine among the 58 that the GAVI Alliance plans to reach by 2015.

The public-private partnership is allotting $37.8 million for the campaign, and an additional $541,000 for training of health workers and preparation activities, according to Dan Thomas, director of media and communications at the alliance.

GAVI is channeling more than 5 million doses of the vaccine that protects against “serotype” 10 of bacterium pneumococcus, the most common cause of fatal pneumonia among children under five years of age.

PCV-10, which has only been introduced to four countries with GAVI support to date, is administered in three doses.

The vaccine is a welcome intervention in Uganda, where pneumonia accounts for 17 percent of child deaths and where only 73 percent of suspected cases receive proper health care.

Luis Sambo, the World Health Organization’s regional director for Africa, said this will help Uganda reduce child mortality and meet Millennium Development Goal No. 4 by 2015.

Routine vaccination however is just one part of the solution in addressing child pneumonia. WHO and UNICEF also recommend exclusive breastfeeding and improved nutrition in fighting the disease.

The PCV-10 campaign in Uganda is part of the alliance’s activities this World Immunization Week.

Haiti will also be introducing the rotavirus vaccine  which fights the bacteria that causes diarrhea  on Saturday; Somalia rolled out the pentavalent vaccine (a combination of five vaccines targeting diptheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type B) on April 24.

GAVI earlier mentioned its plan to introduce HPV vaccines in its programs this year.

Devex has learned that the first eight countries to receive the vaccine with GAVI support are Ghana, Kenya, Laos, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Sierra Leone and Tanzania. The vaccine will be introduced in Kenya in May.

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About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.