24 August 2013

With World Immunisation Week (April 20 – 26) drawing attention to vaccinations, Nicky Willemse turned the spotlight on Dr Seth Berkley...The United States medical doctor specialising in infectious disease epidemiology, who is chief executive of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi Alliance), is determined to take vaccinations to 250–million children in the developing world by 2015, potentially saving four–million lives...However, Daniel Berman, general director of Doctors Without Borders South Africa (MSF SA), said there was still room for improvement in countries with particularly weak health systems, like the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where there continues to be huge outbreaks of measles despite MSF's campaigns over the years to vaccinate millions of children against the disease. "Gavi ran a significant anti–pneumonia programme in the DRC. They created a temporary system with special flights to deliver vaccines." The result was "too much focus on new vaccines", said Berman. "We think there needs to be a better balance ... It's a big challenge, especially in the poorest countries."

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