vaccines Neil Thomas/Getty Images

África ante el encarecimiento de las vacunas

BOSTON – En febrero, los ministros de salud africanos reunidos en Addis Abeba declararon su compromiso con seguir priorizando la vacunación de los niños del continente para salvarlos de enfermedades que pueden ser mortales. Pero cumplirlo no será tarea fácil. La vacunación no solo es una cuestión sanitaria, también es un desafío económico.

Hay buenos argumentos para las vacunas. A escala global, se estima que evitan cada año entre 2 y 3 millones de muertes infantiles y 600 000 muertes de adultos. Además, se las considera una de las intervenciones de salud pública más eficientes para reducir las tasas de morbilidad, mortandad y discapacidad infantil. Un estudio reciente estima que cada dólar invertido en vacunación supone un ahorro de 16 dólares en costos de enfermedades evitadas. Contabilizando el valor que asignan las personas a vidas más largas y sanas, el retorno neto de las inversiones en vacunación asciende a unas 44 veces el costo (y el retorno neto supera al costo en todas las vacunas).

Se han hecho importantes avances. En 2014, la inmunización contra la difteria, el tétanos y la tos convulsa alcanzó al 86% de los niños, en comparación con menos del 5% en 1974. Y la cantidad y variedad de vacunas disponibles han aumentado extraordinariamente.

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