Nearly 1 billion people in Africa will be vaccinated against yellow fever by 2026 in an ambitious United Nations campaign to eliminate epidemics of the deadly disease on the continent.
The mosquito-borne viral disease is a major killer in Africa, where it can spread fast in highly populated areas with devastating consequences.
“With one injection we can protect a person for life against this dangerous pathogen,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) at the programme’s launch in Nigeria, a priority target country.
“This unprecedented commitment by countries will ensure that by 2026 Africa is free of yellow fever epidemics.”
A yellow fever outbreak is active in Nigeria, with hundreds of suspected cases reported after a 7-year-old girl developed fever, vomiting and abdominal pain in August, the WHO said.
Children make up almost half of those targeted.