Leaving No One Behind in Routine Immunizations: Spotlight on Measles Resurgence and the Threat to Child Survival in the Times of COVID-19

On July 13th partners and stakeholders from the Measles & Rubella Initiative including the American Red Cross, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), United Nations Foundation, and World Health Organization (WHO) hosted an official side event to this year’s UN High Level Political Forum. Titled Leaving No One Behind in Routine Immunizations: Spotlight on Measles Resurgence and the Threat to Child Survival in the Times of COVID-19, the side event focused on the need to strengthen routine immunization systems in the context of COVID-19 and touched upon the following themes:

  • Lessons learned on the critical need to include community actors, both in the planning and implementing phases, for effective immunization outreach and trust-building;
  • Commitments to prioritize safeguarding routine immunization, including for measles, especially during times of disruptions as caused by the pandemic;
  • The need to focus on equity and identifying and reaching zero-dose children to ensure no one is left behind;
  • The need to focus on missed communities in immunization efforts, including migrants and refugees.

Key participants in the event included:

  • Rana Hajjeh, Director of Programme Management, WHO (Moderator)
  • Jean-Jacques Mbungani, Minister of Health, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Elisabeth Mukamba Musenga, National Director of Extended Program on Immunization, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Jean Louis Hanitrala Rakotovao, Minister of Health, Madagascar
  • Abdul Qadir Qadir, General Director of the Policy and Planning Directorate of the MoPH, Afghanistan
  • Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO, GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance
  • Francesco Rocca, President, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and National President of the Italian Red Cross Association
  • Gail McGovern, President and CEO, American Red Cross
  • Lydia Taiwo, Field Coordinator, Measles Project, Africa Field Epidemiology Network, and Gavi Civil Society Representative
  • Tom Woodroffe, ECOSOC Ambassador, UK Mission to the UN

Overall, the event was a huge success with 125 participants joining online. The M&RI partners hopes that this strong showing of support will encourages other countries, NGOs, and CSOs to get involved in the critical work of protecting children globally from vaccine preventable diseases. A recording of the event can be found below.

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