(Texte disponible uniquement en anglais)
Good afternoon everyone.
First of all I want to congratulate you on your participation in this roundtable on the important issue of "The Role of Health Care Workers in Ensuring that Every Child Receives the Necessary Vaccines". The aim of the roundtable is to reduce mortality due to diseases that could easily be prevented with vaccines. As professional health care workers from all over the region, you have a very important role to play in this.
In order to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, we must make every effort to encourage vaccination. We must strive to increase commitment and resources to maintain the region's polio-free status and to eliminate measles and rubella by 2015. That is the aim of this roundtable today.
We all have a social responsibility in this regard. It is vital to continue to advocate for immunization. You - health care workers - are at the frontline. As such you can make a major contribution to keeping this region free from vaccine-preventable diseases.
I am sure, though, that you face many challenges every day, and that contact with parents is not always easy. So I invite you now to exchange your experiences with your colleagues. To learn from each other. Let's discuss how we can best achieve these life-saving goals.
Thank you for this very interesting discussion, rich with ideas and suggestions. I think we can all draw some lessons from it. I am sure that WHO Europe will take them on board for further action.
I was particularly struck by your commitment and positive attitude towards eradicating vaccine-preventable diseases. It will not always be easy to convince people - especially parents. But with your enthusiasm you can make a difference in this region. You have my support and WHO's support!
I wish you every success with the tasks ahead.