Fight against polio: more than 3/4 Congolese children will be vaccinated over the next 2 years, according to President Felix Tshisekedi

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Kinshasa, October 22nd, 2021 (CPA).– President of the Republic Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo reassured to vaccinate ¾ Congolese children over the next 2 years, during the 2nd National Forum for Vaccination and Eradication of polio organized in Kinshasa.

« Over the next two years, let’s set the goal of completely vaccinating 3/4 of Congolese children, the challenge will be great, because this involves vaccinating at least 3 million children per year », he said., adding: « when we get there, this result will place DRC in a leadership position for the region in the field of immunization ».

To this end, the Head of State also reassured the unwavering determination in favor of the well-being of the children of DRC, and the deep commitment to vaccination.

« As far as I am concerned, I guarantee you that the government of the Republic, all our administrations, provincial governments and the field teams will do everything in their power to get there, » he said, adding that the aim remains to protect children as much as possible from the deleterious effects of vaccine-preventable diseases.

The Head of State welcomes the progress made

The Head of State said he was satisfied with the progress made thanks to the combined efforts of all.

“Our combined efforts have started to produce concrete results. Indeed, while only 1/3 of the children were fully vaccinated at our meeting in 2019, today more than half of Congolese children receive the vaccine together as planned in our vaccination schedule. In just two years, we have come half of the way we set out. Results never achieved before”, he said.

For the Head of State, these results are the result of everyone’s commitment and the hard work of the teams in the field and they are all the more significant as they were achieved while the country was facing other challenges urgent health needs, in particular epidemics of Ebola virus disease, polio, cholera and measles.

Launch of Mashako 2.0 plan

The Head of State launched the second phase of Mashako Plan, dubbed « Mashako Plan 2.0. « .

“We are not stopping there. Let us continue, redouble and intensify our efforts for even more results, also to complete this work of immunization of all children, which will also serve as proof that universal health coverage is achievable in this country. To go even faster and further, I am launching the second phase of Mashako plan, dubbed Mashako Plan 2.0”, he stressed.

While indicating that DRC has succeeded in interrupting the polio epidemic and in producing vaccines against pneumonia, diarrhea and cholera, the Head of State called for reflection on the scaling up of vaccination against all these diseases to have a significant impact on the preservation of healthy life and ensure productivity and development.

« The result that we have achieved in two years proves that we can achieve it », he assured, before hoping that DRC becomes a model country.

Congolese encouraged to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Head of State Felix Tshisekedi also took the opportunity to encourage his compatriots to get vaccinated against COVID-19, which affects the country like virtually all countries in the world.

« The important project that we have just defined we must lead in the context of COVID-19. Our health system and our economy are strongly and negatively impacted” by this pandemic.

« Do like us, get vaccinated, » he said, before encouraging provincial governments to do everything to support and facilitate the vaccination campaign in their jurisdiction.

“We now have at our disposal effective and clearly recognized vaccines having been administered to tens of millions of people around the world. The path to economic growth can only resume if we all get vaccinated”, he stressed.

President Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo and his wife Denise Nyakeru, it is recalled, were vaccinated against COVID-19 on September 12th at the Presidential Clinic of the city of the African Union (Kinshasa).

UNICEF salutes the leadership of the President of the Republic

In addition, the Deputy Regional Director for West Africa and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Center, Dr Félicité Tchibindat, praised the leadership and the commitment of the Presidency of the Republic as well as the Congolese government to ensure the rights of its children as an essential component of its efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

« This commitment shows a willingness to keep the commitment made by African Heads of State in favor of immunization in Addis Ababa for the monitoring and development of Congolese children », she said.

For Dr Tchibindat, the organization of this second Forum under the leadership of President Felix Tshisekedi is a strong message, a form of founding act that will make vaccination a priority in his government actions. This forum is also in line with Unicef’s vision for the achievement of 2030 agenda for sustainable development, because, she said, it is for this UN agency through routine vaccination, to ensure holistic management of the needs of Congolese children.

“Unicef ​​and all the partners have come to renew Kinshasa declaration, hoping that at the end of this second forum, appropriate and lasting solutions will be found, in particular to reaffirm the leadership, governance and responsibility of the organization. ‘all politico-administrative, parliamentary, technical, religious, traditional, community actors as well as civil society.

While welcoming the progress made, Dr. Tchibindat said that UNICEF intends to continue advocating for a guaranteed long-term budget line to finance immunization in the national budget and the establishment of the necessary mechanisms to rapid disbursement of funds.

Organized by the Ministry in charge of Public Health, Hygiene and Prevention, under the high patronage of the President of the Republic, this second forum saw other interventions by the various partners of DRC government, in particular the regional director of the Organization. World Health Organization (WHO) for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Dr. Christopher Élias of “Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation”, District Governor 9150 of Rotary Club International, Innocent Nkongo Budina Nzau, City Governor of kinshasa, Gentiny Ngobila Mbaka and others.

It should be recalled that during the first National Forum on Immunization and Polio held in Kinshasa in July 2019, the ministers, the presidents of the provincial assemblies, the governors of the provinces of DRC had made ten commitments, in particular to achieve by 2024 at least 80% of immunization coverage for children fully immunized before their first birthday.

ACP/ Lys