Kenya's vaccine program is making progress but awareness efforts will continue to help.
Every year half a million children under 5 die from Strepcoccus Pneumoniae, or pneumoccal disease. We've written about the life-saving pneumonia vaccine already, which is key because, in Kenya, the disease claims the lives of more children than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined. More than 70 percent of the deaths caused by the disease are in developing countries. Kaiser's Daily Health reports that Kenya's effort to vaccinate its population against the disease is spreading:
"Kenya on Monday became the first African country to introduce a routine vaccine against pneumococcal disease, which claims the lives of more than half a million children under five each year," Deutsche Presse Agentur/The Hindu reports. The GAVI Alliance, which is supporting the vaccine's roll out, "is aiming to introduce the vaccine to 19 developing countries – including Nicaragua, Guyana, Yemen and Sierra Leone – within a year and hopes to reach more than 40 nations by 2015, depending on funding." GAVI said it is in need of an additional "$3.7 billion dollars over the next five years to fund immunisation programmes in impoverished countries."
While the price of the vaccine remains low right now, it will increase as countries increase the demand for the vaccine. Their are indications that the developing world will require another 250 million doses a year, further increasing demand. Money that governments are paying to get the vaccine out into the population. GlaxoSmithKilne is facilitating the program by by helping countries optimize their storage and transportation space for the vaccine. The vaccine is a key step in combating a disease that affects millions of children.
However, as the vaccination program picks up moment it will need to be able effectively distributed. This requires getting the word out about the disease and about the vaccine. The Good Vaccine Challenge is asking for ideas that help spread information about vaccines; perhaps this is something you want to focus on?
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