Haut-Lomami Province Affirms Commitment to Strengthening Routine Immunization in Partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
SEATTLE, October 4, 2018 – Today, the honorable Professor Jackson Kalenga Mwenzemi, governor of Haut-Lomami Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Chris Elias, President, Global Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to improve vaccination coverage among children in Haut-Lomami Province and thus save people’s lives.
Under the umbrella of the National Minister Health Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga’s National Plan for Immunization (so called “Plan Mashako pour la relance de la vaccination de routine”), this four-year partnership will support all health zones across the province in reaching and maintaining a goal of more than 90 percent immunization coverage by improving cold chain and vaccine logistics, strengthening governance and management of routine immunization programs, enhancing technical capacity, bolstering community engagement and improving data management and analysis. Haut-Lomami Province will lead the implementation of the MoU and committed to increase its funding contribution over the period to cover it entirely by 2022. The Gates Foundation will provide funding, technical support and advice. PATH will coordinate implementation and involve other technical and financial partners like the DRC National Ministry of Health, Village Reach, UCLA, Global Good, GAVI the Vaccine Alliance, WHO, UNICEF and others.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has recently faced recurrent outbreaks of several infectious diseases, including Ebola virus, cholera, circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV), measles-rubella, yellow fever, and monkey pox. This new partnership aims to stop transmission of cVDPV, keep the province polio-free and reduce child illness and deaths attributable to other such vaccine-preventable diseases.
“Strong routine immunization systems are one of the best ways we can save and improve lives around the world,” said Chris Elias, President of Global Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Leadership like this is essential for stopping the cVDPV outbreak in DRC and tackling the barriers that stand in the way of reaching every child with the vaccines they need.”
Beyond reducing the prevalence of these diseases, strengthening routine immunization programs creates additional points of contact between families and primary health care centers. In doing so, these programs lay the foundation for resilient health systems that can respond to a variety of disease threats.
“Today’s commitment to strengthening health systems is a significant milestone in breaking down health inequities,” said Steve Davis, President and CEO of PATH. “PATH is proud to be working with local leaders and partners to ensure that all people, all children have access to the health care they deserve.”
“Through this partnership, we have the opportunity to help ensure our children grow up strong and healthy for generations to come and therefore contribute to the economic development of our country,” said Jackson Kalenga Mwenzemi, governor of Haut-Lomami Province. “Together, we can work toward building robust immunization systems, critical to protecting children from polio and other serious threats to child health. Therefore, the provincial government reaffirms its commitment to adhere to this MoU for the children of the province, and thanks the Gates Foundation and its partners for this support.”
About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.