|Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, former President of the Republic of Tanzania|
African Media Agency (AMA)/- It is my pleasure to announce today that I have accepted the invitation from the Confederation of African Football and from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to serve as Champion for Immunization and as Global Ambassador of Africa United. Africa United is a pan-African innovative initiative led by Gavi, the Confederation of African Football, the African Union, the World Bank Group and the CDC Foundation. This initiative leverages sport to catalyze action on critical health issues facing the continent.
Africa United was first deployed during the Ebola crisis, enlisting influencers like Kei Kamara of Sierra Leone to spread Ebola prevention messages and to encourage the population to trust and seek care within the health system. Africa United spokespeople also brought increased attention to the crisis through an African Union-led awareness and fundraising campaign called Africa Against Ebola.
Under my leadership, Africa United will focus on promoting universal health access, beginning with a focus on Universal Immunization. Immunization is crucial to saving the lives of children across Africa - and the world. Immunization will be key to preventing over 1.5 million deaths each year. Universal vaccination will also play a fundamental role in developing a healthy, resilient population and in ensuring that we develop the economies we need to face the challenges of the next century.
Today, as I announce my commitment to the health of the African continent, I call on every Head of State across Africa to prioritize access to vaccination in each and every community.
Africa United will formally launch its universal immunization initiative next week in Kigali at the 4th Edition of the Orange African Nations Championship - Rwanda 2016. In Kigali, my esteemed partner in this fight, CAF, will remind everyone that "Every Shot Counts" as we look achieve our goal of Universal Immunization.