26 April, 2012 will mark a milestone for Ghana. On that day, during World Immunisation Week, the West African nation will make an unprecedented step towards saving the lives of its children from two of the biggest child killers in the country, through the simultaneous introduction of two new vaccines.
Globally, pneumococcal disease is responsible for approximately half a million deaths among children under five every year. As well as being the leading cause of pneumonia, it also causes meningitis, which leaves many of the children it does not kill with permanent disabilities, including mental retardation and seizures. Pneumococcal disease can also lead to blood poisoning, as well as middle ear infections, which can cause permanent deafness.