Dr Joan Awunyo-Akaba: Representative of the civil society on the GAVI Alliance Board
Immunization: The Missed Opportunity
In this interview, Dr Joan Awunyo-Akaba, Gavi Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Board Member gives her take on what “Immunization – the Missed Opportunity” is all about. She puts a special emphasis on how to reach that fifth child that is still not receiving the direly need immunization shots. By addressing immunization challenges, the international community can reduce the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases that affects the future of those children, sustain healthy communities, and reduce health disparities both within and across countries.
Bio: Dr Awunyo-Akaba has a PhD in medical sociology from the University of Ghana Legon (2007). She is a community health development consultant; Founder and Executive Director of Future Generations International (FUGI), a Ghanaian based NGO on health promotion and development; and an expert in childhood immunisation advocacy; behaviour change communication; and water, sanitation, and hygiene. A registered nurse, she is involved in civil society organisational activities, and is currently the National Vice Chairperson of the Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health. Joan also represents the national Health Coalition on the Ghana Health Services’ Gavi Consortium that assesses the eligibility and involvement of CSOs in immunisation and health systems strengthening; and is presently advocating for the establishment of a National Innovative Fund for Childhood Immunization that would ensure the sustainability of the EPI in Ghana when Gavi support ends.