UNICEF Ethiopia/Flickr

Overtuigingen die levens redden

GENEVE – Het lot van meer dan 200 meisjes die zijn ontvoerd in het noorden van Nigeria is een brute herinnering aan hoe kwetsbaar kinderen (en vooral meisjes) in Afrika kunnen zijn. Maar het is net zo belangrijk om te erkennen dat dit geen echte weerspiegeling is van het moderne Afrika, en dat Afrikaanse leiders erg geëngageerd zijn om de kinderen van hun landen te beschermen. Hun vermogen om te voorzien in de zelfde mate van bescherming die kinderen in rijke landen genieten vereist twee sleutel-ingrediënten: partnerschap en overtuiging.

Dit omdat (ook al is terrorisme een verraderlijke bedreiging) het grootste gevaar voor de kinderen van Afrika ziekte is, die vaak kan worden voorkomen door routinematige immunisatie. En terwijl de wereld debatteert over de beste manier om de vermiste meisjes terug te halen, steekt een ander gevaar weer de kop op; De Wereldgezondheidsorganisatie (WHO) verklaarde onlangs de verspreiding van polio tot een internationaal publiek gezondheidsgevaar, waarbij verschillende Afrikaanse landen nu een voortdurend risico veroorzaken de ziekte te exporteren.

Gelukkig zijn er directe en tastbare manieren om polio en een reeks van andere door vaccinatie te voorkomen ziektes te verslaan die momenteel onschuldige levens eisen in Afrika en daarbuiten. Bovendien erkennen Afrikaanse leiders dat de beste manier om kinderen duurzame bescherming op de lange termijn te bieden routinematige immunisatie is. Eerder deze maand bekrachtigden Afrikaanse leiders op een ontmoeting in de Nigeriaanse hoofdstad Abuja de Immunize Africa 2020 verklaring, waarin zichzelf vastleggen om te investeren in een gezonde en duurzame toekomst voor alle kinderen in hun landen.

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