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In an effort to reduce childhood illnesses and death, pediatricians from 11 African countries recently urged their countries' leaders to make vaccines and immunization a priority.

The pediatricians, meeting at the Congress of the Union of African National Societies and Association of Paediatrics in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, earlier this month, adopted a "call to action" urging pediatricians in Africa to advocate for immunization services.

Conference speakers emphasized the important role pediatricians play as advocates for child health and immunization. A symposium sponsored by PATH's partner, the GAVI Alliance, titled "Vaccinology and advocacy: what role can pediatricians play?" attracted nearly 100 doctors from across Africa.

The symposium, led partly by PATH staff, provided participants with advocacy tools and information about the mission and role of the GAVI Alliance in ensuring vaccines for poor countries. The symposium included examples of best practices for promoting immunization and introduction of new vaccines—particularly those against pneumonia and diarrheal disease, the two leading killers of young children—in countries eligible for help from the GAVI Alliance. 

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Posted December 22, 2011.