International parliamentarians commit to immunisation

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Panel discussion on fringes of Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in Uganda agrees to advocate for vaccines and immunisation

Uganda-Health-Minister-Christine-Ondoa

Ugandan Health Minister Christine Ondoa participates in the panel discussion on vaccine-preventable disease hosted by her country's National Assembly. Source: GAVI/2012

Geneva, 3 April 2012 - A panel of democratically-elected representatives from around the world committed to advocating for vaccines and immunisation on Tuesday, recognising that the technology is cost-effective in reducing maternal and child mortality.

The commitment was a key outcome from a panel discussion on tackling vaccine-preventable disease. The discussion was hosted by Uganda’s National Assembly on the sidelines of a broader Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly, the international organisation of parliaments.

Key oversight role

“As parliamentarians, we play a key oversight role on the implementation of government policies, and also a key budget oversight and monitoring role,” the Rt. Hon Rebecca Kadaga, Uganda’s parliament speaker told the panel.

Referring to the Millennium Development Goals, the parliamentarians committed in a declaration to advocate for universal access to vaccines and immunisation, increased resources and sustainable immunisation financing, and to call for an IPU immunisation-specific resolution.

Not acceptable

We, members of Parliament from across the globe, are committed to advocating for vaccines and immunisation, a cost-effective public health intervention for improving the health of women and children.

Parliamentary Declaration on immunisation

“It is not acceptable that every year, 1.7 million children die from vaccine-preventable diseases,” the declaration says.

“We, members of Parliament from across the globe, are committed to advocating for vaccines and immunisation, a cost-effective public health intervention for improving the health of women and children,” it adds.

Ghana's parliament

Parliamentarians clapped when the Hon. Gifty Klenam, from Ghana’s parliament, noted that her country will be the first GAVI-eligible country to introduce pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines simultaneously. Set for launch later this month, the two vaccines will help protect Ghana’s children from pneumococcal and rotavirus diseases, the world’s biggest vaccine preventable killers of children, which together kill an estimated 929,000 children every year, according to the WHO.

Also present, Australian Senator Sue Boyce, noted that her country was the first country to introduce HPV vaccine into its routine immunisation. Besides being a leader on vaccine science, Australia is a generous donor to GAVI and to immunisation.

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