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Immunization Focus

A quarterly publication of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization

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[ Egyptian stele ]An ancient Egyptian stele, portraying a prince with a withered leg - probably polio.

December 2002


An investment for life
In a signal of their commitment to immunization, government ministers from more than 60 of the 75 countries eligible for GAVI support assembled in Dakar, Senegal for the Second Partners’ Meeting last month. The president of Senegal, Mr. Abdoulaye Wade, opened the meeting with a call to delegates to redouble their efforts in increasing children’s access to vaccines in developing countries. Almost 400 participants --including those from non-governmental organizations, the vaccine industry and UN partner agencies -- discussed the progress of the Alliance so far and confronted the challenges ahead.
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Special Feature

Polio: can immunization ever stop?
Nobody said it would be easy to get rid of poliovirus, and the last corners -- in India particularly -- are proving even harder than expected. But, as the worldwide polio eradication effort comes tantalisingly close to achieving its goal, policymakers face a new set of tough questions. If the world can soon be declared free of wild poliovirus, can countries then stop vaccinating their children against it, or should they continue forever? If they continue, what type of vaccine should they use? Would a world declared polio-free be safe with polio immunization or without it?
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Controlling epidemic yellow fever in Africa
Yellow fever (YF) is an acute, viral disease transmitted between humans by infected mosquitoes. Many infections are mild, but the disease can cause severe, life-threatening illness. Yellow fever was almost eliminated during the 1950’s through intensive vaccination campaigns, but the disease resurged in the 1980’s. Now an estimated 200 000 yellow fever cases with 30 000 deaths occur each year, the majority in 33 sub-Saharan African countries, with over 508 million people at risk of infection.
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