April 24th marked the beginning of this year’s World Immunisation Week, an internationally recognised point in the calendar to celebrate the contribution which vaccines have made to global health and development efforts. While considerable progress has been made in improving access to safe, effective vaccines, more needs to be done to ensure that children in some of the world’s poorest countries do not die from diseases which are preventable by vaccines.
Recently Bill Gates, who works tirelessly for improvements in global health, was asked to show one slide which captured advances in global health. He displayed a chart which showed that in 1960 around 20 million children died before their fifth birthday. Today that figure has fallen to around 7 million.