The COVID-19 pandemic exposed structural weaknesses and inequalities in the health systems around the world and disrupted routine child immunizations. Because of this, children in low- and middle-income countries stand to suffer the most.
“We have lost valuable ground on ending vaccine-preventable diseases. The overwhelming global scale of this disruption points to a dangerous risk for vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks,” says Dr. Amanuel Gidebo, a medical doctor and Infectious Disease Specialist at World Vision.
The federal government recently announced an additional $11 million in the fight against TB, making Canada the second largest donor to global TB programming. Gidebo says the government’s commitment of additional funding is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done to protect vulnerable children.
“There is an urgent need for multi-pronged investments in health systems, including strengthening global supply chains for vaccine equity, strengthening local health systems to ensure their ability to maintain quality essential services in the midst of health emergencies like COVID-19, and investing in local capacity for research and development.” says Gidebo. “We must prioritize catch-up vaccinations and treat underlying malnutrition that is further increasing vulnerability to devastating preventable diseases.”
An estimated 16 million children aren’t fully immunized against TB, of which 12.4 million have not received any vaccines since birth, according to a recent report by Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, TB-related deaths had been on the decline, but have since increased. An estimated 10 million people were diagnosed with TB worldwide, including more than one million children, primarily in low-income countries, according to the World Health Organization’s recent figures.
About World Vision
World Vision is a relief, development and advocacy organization working to create lasting change in the lives of children, families, and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. Inspired by Christian values, World Vision is dedicated to working with the world's most vulnerable people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, visit worldvision.ca or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
For further information, contact Lisa Baldock, 519-870-2465, firstname.lastname@example.org
As the world struggles to control COVID-19, World Vision warns that other infectious diseases, like tuberculosis (TB), have once again taken hold on impoverished nations—putting millions of children at risk.