Prof. François Tall, physician and president the of Burkina Faso Pediatric Society (SO.B.PED), discusses his commitment to fighting vaccine-preventable diseases after the GAVI Alliance this week launched two childhood vaccines in his country.
This week was big for my country. We were finally able to introduce vaccines against two of the biggest killers of children under 5 years old: pneumonia and diarrhea.
As a pediatrician, I see children suffering from these vaccine-preventable diseases every single day, but now, thanks to these vaccines, we will be able to guard against them.
In 2010, there were 21,764 child deaths caused by pneumonia and 14,648 caused by diarrhea in Burkina Faso alone. Thousands more die from these diseases each year across sub-Saharan Africa. Burkina Faso now joins several other countries in the region that have already introduced these vaccines, thanks to the support of the GAVI Alliance.
GAVI has approved 17 African countries for rotavirus vaccine support and an additional 9 nations for pneumococcal vaccines support. As of yesterday—the “D-Day” of the new dual-vaccine launch under the patronage of the First Lady of Burkina Faso—our children will finally be protected from two of the biggest threats they face.
As President of the Burkina Faso Pediatric Society (SO.B.PED) I want to congratulate my government on this major advancement that allows us to fight a true blight in our country. Celebrating its 24th year, the SO.B.PED was founded by 10 pediatricians and now has over 70 active members spread throughout 45 provinces. Now it is up to us to ensure that the introduction and implementation of these vaccines are effective, successful and sustainable.
We must thank not only our leaders but also our numerous partners, donor countries, and especially the GAVI Alliance for its financial support, without which none of this would be possible. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our colleagues at PATH and IVAC/Johns Hopkins University for their assistance and support in our advocacy efforts.
We sincerely hope that donors will continue to support the GAVI Alliance so that we can continue to benefit from their support in reducing the number of deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases.