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Immunization in Uzbekistan
World Immunization Week is marked globally in the last week of April to raise awareness about one of the most successful and efficient healthcare tools ever invented – vaccination.
In Uzbekistan, the government ensures equal access to immunization for all children. The country has been a leader in the Central Asian region in terms of nationwide vaccination coverage, which currently stands at 99.7-99.9%.
The number of vaccines in the national calendar of vaccination has increased from 6 to 12 and includes such vaccines as pneumococcal vaccine and the vaccine against rotavirus infection, which help prevent pneumococcal pneumonia and severe diarrhea in children respectively.
This year, the Ministry of Health has introduced the Inactivated Polio Vaccine, which, in addition to the oral polio vaccine will help to build strong and sustainable immunity in child against all types of polio virus.
In 2019, the country plans to start using the vaccine against human papillomavirus. It will be given to adolescents, mainly girls, to protect them from cervical cancer – a disease with high incidence and mortality rate in the country. Girls across the country will be able to get vaccinated for free and protect themselves from the dangerous disease for the rest of their lives.
UNICEF, alongside the WHO and GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization), has been the country’s main partner in enhancing its immunization system through supporting in procurement, delivery and distribution of vaccines, injection supplies and equipment, and in capacity building of the specialists working with vaccination.
All vaccines in the National Immunization Calendar are procured through UNICEF, which helps the country to obtain high quality vaccines at affordable prices. All vaccines supplied through UNICEF are pre-qualified by WHO and have international certificate of quality.
Uzbekistan is building a sustainable immunization system
Currently, the Uzbek government funds nearly 80% per cent of the vaccines included in its National Immunization Calendar, with GAVI covering the rest. Uzbekistan will be fully self-sustainable in vaccine procurement by 2021.
To support the government of Uzbekistan, GAVI has committed over 20 million US dollars to strengthen the health system and the necessary equipment for vaccine storage and transportation in Uzbekistan. Using these funds a large storage facilities will be built in Tashkent and all regions of the country. It is planned to provide various equipment, refrigerators, thermal bags and vehicles needed for the safety of vaccines.
“Cold chain is a set of appropriate infrastructure and series of processes designed to ensure safety of vaccines by following recommended temperature ranges and transportation conditions, from the time when they are manufactured all the way to a child during vaccination,” explains Nargiza Fuzailova, Immunization Officer, UNICEF.
The facilities being built in regions have special equipment such as walk-in cold rooms, store space for syringes, packing area and room for stock manager. Each cold chain facility was designed according to population needs in immunization and WHO/UNICEF requirements for modern cold chain storages.
Improving planning and logistics
Building an efficient immunization system also requires elaboration of expenditure planning and a nation-wide logistics network so that no child is missed out.
That is why UNICEF supports the government to increase potential of local specialists working in this sphere. A training event was organized last year for specialists dealing with customs clearance and distribution of vaccines. This year, UNICEF will help conduct a study to identify the weak points in the logistics and procurement procedures. This will pave the way for a targeted approach to staff development by identifying the most pressing training needs for maximizing staff's potential.
Considering that Uzbekistan will become sustainable and independent in vaccine procurement by 2021, the Government's commitment to increased budgeting for immunization is critical.
UNICEF will continue working with the Government of Uzbekistan and other partners to ensure that the country maintains its high levels of coverage, and no child suffers from a disease that could have been prevented by vaccination.
Leyli calls. Vaccines Work. Protected together.03 May 2018
Three questions with Nargiza Fuzailova on Immunization28 April 2018