In praise of vaccines!

For our team here at CVD-Mali, World Immunization Week is always a notable event on the calendar.

As the Center for Vaccine Development in Mali, our core work has always revolved around the development, trial and implementation of safe and effective vaccines, in Mali primarily but also in the wider West African region.

This year’s World Immunization Week takes place in a more charged context than usual. The whole world, it seems, is talking about vaccines and vaccination.

Unprecedented achievement

In a recent blogpost, we discussed the many challenges associated with the brand new Covid-19 vaccines that have become available, in record time, and as a result of unprecedented scientific achievement.

We made a plea for equitable distribution of these vaccines because immunity against COVID-19 for all, in all countries around the world, is our best hope of putting an end to a global pandemic.

Prof Sow receiving a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Working together for better health and fairer societies

At CVD-Mali we are very fortunate to be working at the moment on many different health-related projects. These include vaccine development trials, a leprosy treatment trial, maternal and child health trials as well as ongoing work on surveillance and analysis of COVID-19 in Malian communities. As always, we carry out this work in conjunction with a great many partners and funders and I would like to express my gratitude to them here, not only on behalf of my own institution, CVD-Mali, and the Ministry of Health of Mali, but on behalf of my country and its communities.

Being engaged in such a wide range of projects means that I spend much of my time in the field with my compatriots. On all these visits, it is my great privilege to be invited into people’s villages and daily lives. We talk and laugh, discuss and debate. I am honoured with confidences. Each conversation is above all else, however, an opportunity to learn about the concerns, beliefs, fears and hopes that guide the lives of people in our wonderful communities.

What I hear most often is the expression of a simple, human hope. That their children be able to grow up in good health, peace and prosperity.