11 May 2015
An exciting educational day to mark World Immunization Week was held at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases on 30 April 2015. World Immunization Week, from the 24th– 30th April, signals a renewed global, regional, and national effort to accelerate action to increase awareness and demand for immunization by communities, and improve vaccination delivery services.
The global theme for World Immunization Week 2015 was ‘Close the Immunization Gap’, focusing on equalizing vaccination levels for the major vaccines outlined in the Global Vaccine Action Plan. Of particular relevance to South Africa are vaccines against Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio, Measles, Hepatitis B, Pneumococcal and Rotavirus as well as Haemophilus influenzae type b and Human papillomavirus vaccines. African Vaccination Week celebrated the theme: ‘Vaccination – A Gift of Life’, marking an opportunity for countries to strengthen immunization services and systems through advocacy, education and communication tools and activities.
The Centre for Vaccines and Immunology at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases hosted a line-up of esteemed speakers for the event, which was opened by the Honorable Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. Professor Shabir Madhi, Director of the Institute, highlighted possible opportunities for prevention of neonatal and early infant mortality through maternal immunization. Professor Helen Rees, Director of the Reproductive Health Institute, discussed whether South Africa would be ready to meet measles elimination targets. Professor Anne von Gottberg, co-head of the Centre for Respiratory Diseases and Meningitis, highlighted the impact of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in South Africa in 2015. Dr Michelle Groome from the Respiratory and Meningeal Pathogens Unit, University of the Witwatersrand highlighted advances from rotavirus vaccination in South Africa. Dr Nonhlanhla Dlamini, chief director Child, Youth and School Health, drew attention to progress and challenges of the routine immunization programme in the country. Dr Cheryl Cohen, Co-head of the Centre for Respiratory Diseases and Meningitis, took an in depth look at influenza vaccination for pregnant women. Dr Melinda Suchard, Head of the Centre for Vaccines and Immunology, spoke on the clinician’s role in public health surveillance with regards to polio eradication and measles elimination. Dr Messeret Eshetu and Dr Fussum Daniel gave perspectives from the World Health Organisation regarding which priorities should be South Africa’s focus in the coming years.
Participants included more than 150 delegates including clinicians, laboratory staff, academics and industry representatives. Please find links below for the presentations from the day.
Possibilities for reducing neonatal and young infant mortality through Maternal immunization – Shabir A. Madhi, National Institute for Communicable Diseases & University of Witwatersrand, South Africa Respiratory and Meningeal Pathogens Research Unit, & DST/NRF: Vaccine Preventable Diseases
Impact of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in South Africa – Anne von Gottberg,Centre for Respiratory Diseases and Meningitis,NICD
Future Horizons – Is South Africa ready for measles elimination? Prof Helen Rees,Executive Director, Wits RHI, University of Witwatersrand Personal Professor, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University of Witwatersrand Honorary Professor, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Honorary Fellow, Murray Edwards College, Cambridge University
Closing the Immunisation Gap – Dr NR Dlamini ,Chief Director: Child, Youth and School Health, Dept. of Health
Maternal influenza immunization – Cheryl Cohen, Centre Head Centre for Respiratory Disease and Meningitis, National Institute for Communicable Diseases
Rotavirus vaccination in reducing disease in South African children – Dr Michelle Groome MBBCh (Wits) DCH(SA) MScMed (Epi & Biostats) Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation: Vaccine Preventable Diseases; Medical Research Council: Respiratory and Meningeal Pathogens Research Unit, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
The Clinician’s Role in Public Health Surveillance, MELINDA SUCHARD CENTRE FOR VACCINES AND IMMUNOLOGY NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR COMMUNICABLE DISEASES AND UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND
WHO PERSPECTIVES: WHICH PRIORITIES FOR SA? Dr. M. Eshetu and Dr. F. Daniel, WHO/IST ESA