Late last month, African Heads of State gathered at the 28th Summit of the African Union to sign the Addis Declaration on Immunization (ADI)—a historic agreement to secure healthy futures for all Africans by prioritizing universal access to immunization. First endorsed by African Ministers a year ago, ADI binds member nations to a range of commitments that call for increasing domestic investment in immunization, addressing persistent barriers to vaccine and healthcare access among marginalized communities, and increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of immunization delivery systems.
The Declaration comes at a crucial time. Despite progress dating to the launch of Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) in 2012, access to vaccines in Africa has recently stagnated and the continent is on track to achieve only one of GVAP’s six strategic targets. By signing ADI, African governments signaled their preparedness and commitment to take collective action in partnership with civil society and the private sector.
The Summit also set the stage for two big announcements: Chadian Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat was named the new head of the AU Commission, and the 54-member body launched the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention—a landmark agency based in Addis Ababa that will aid countries in managing health emergencies through early warning systems and response surveillance.