The East Africa Centre for Vaccines and Immunization (ECAVI) is an initiative of health professionals and organisations brought together with the main aim of increasing awareness; participating in research and utilising new research findings on vaccines; conducting and promoting training on vaccines and immunization; and supporting health systems towards improved coverage and uptake of vaccines in Eastern Africa (including the five EAC member states Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, plus Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia).

While we acknowledge that a lot has been done to improve coverage and understanding about vaccines and immunizations in Eastern Africa, there are some gaps, which could still be filled. Somalia and South Sudan are countries emerging out of war, with literally no child survival and immunization structures in place.

Even Kenya and Tanzania, the most peaceful of 11 nations in Eastern Africa, are not faring excellently in vaccine coverage and control of vaccine preventable illnesses. Mortality indicators show that about Six to Seven out of Ten of all children Under 5 years of age who die in the Eastern Africa region do so directly or indirectly due to vaccine preventable illnesses, especially pneumonia, diarrhoea, measles, whooping cough, tetanus, TB and pertussis.

Pneumonia alone kills more children that malaria, TB and HIV combined. Our desire is to make a contribution, however small, to our region. It is our hope that through ECAVI, we all will have a platform and forum for exchange and sharing of up to date and accurate information about vaccines in Eastern Africa. ECAVI also provides links to up to date statistics regarding vaccine and immunization coverage and indices within Eastern Africa.

ECAVI runs up to date programs for training and continuous education about vaccines to health professionals, policymakers, programme managers and vaccine handlers within Eastern Africa.

We will, guided by evidence based practice and WHO recommendations and consensus, as timely and as accurate as possible, respond to questions about vaccines and immunization programs and dilemmas in clinical practice related to vaccines in the region, as asked by health care providers, vaccine manufacturers and distributers, medical/nursing students, parents, and the general public. We will proactively advocate for and participates in continued research in the area of vaccines, through designing low cost easy to implement systems and models to improve vaccine uptake, coverage and how vaccines can be made safer.

We also hope to support Masters students in Eastern Africa Universities in designing and carrying out dissertations in Vaccinology, and encourage the utilization of new research findings on current and newer vaccines into existing programs for vaccination and immunization within Eastern Africa.

We can’t do this alone, we can’t achieve these goals alone, but time has come for Africa to find solutions to African problems, or at least attempt to; and so we appeal for your good will, financial and technical support, feedback, positive criticism, and solidarity in this noble cause.

ECAVI TUKO PAMOJA (Ecavi we are together)!

Dr. Ombeva O. Malande