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44% of children

In 12 of 29 CEECIS countries are at risk of not developing to their potential due to poverty, stunting or both.

World immunization week focuses on immunization successes and unfinished agenda

Print version
22 April 2013
Press release
3 3 Photos

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, 22 April 2013. — Protection of children from vaccine-preventable diseases is a child right, and all children must have equal access to fully funded and quality immunization services, say UNICEF, WHOand the Ministry of Healthas Uzbekistan marks the World Immunization Week (24–30 April 2013).

Immunization is among the most successful and most cost-effective public health interventions reaching four out of five children globally. According to the Global Immunization Data 2012 from WHO/UNICEF, immunization averts an estimated 2–3 million deaths from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and measles each year.

As part of its overall commitment to strengthen primary health care systems, UNICEF prioritizes expanding and sustaining immunization services to reach all children worldwide. Immunization is at the heart of UNICEF’s mission and of the recently launched movement, Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed, where so far 172 governments, including the Government of Uzbekistan, and hundreds of civil society organizations and religious leaders have pledged to redouble efforts to save every child from preventable deaths.

«Immunization is a foundation for a better future. It helps entire societies: an immunized child is healthier and performs better in school, earns higher income as an adult, and raises healthier children as a parent," says Jean-Michel Delmotte, UNICEF Representative.

«Since independence, Uzbekistan has achieved a lot in the area of management of vaccine preventable diseases. The coverage of children with vaccination against polio, diphtheria, pertussis, measles, and tetanus has increased nearly two-fold, reaching 99% in 2009–2011.However, more needs to be done to ensure that the country’s immunization programme is sustainable and every child is reached out with life-saving vaccinations and other essential interventions», he added.

«World Immunization Week, with its call to „Protect your world, get vaccinated“ is an opportunity to raise awareness of the health benefits of vaccination», says DrAsmusHammerich, WHO Representative.«Uzbekistan is the active participant of the regional event — the European Immunization Week — for the seventh year in row. The country successfully used this opportunity to identify and immunize missed children, to conduct supplementary immunization activities to protect those at risk, and to increase overall vaccination uptake»

UNICEF and WHO provide policy support and technical assistance to the Government of Uzbekistan to strengthen and sustain the National Immunization Programme. This includes assisting in introduction of new antigens, improving vaccine management, building capacity of vaccinators and facilitating vaccine procurement for routine immunization through UNICEF’s Supply Division. Immunization of all age groups is now financed fully from the state budget. Since 2010, the Ministry of Health has renewed its agreement with the Supply Division and is procuring all vaccines for routineimmunization through UNICEF.

UNICEF also supports building inter-personal communication skills of health service providers to effectively engage with communities and create demand for vaccination.

WHO and UNICEF contributed to the effective response to the polio outbreak in the region in 2010 through fundraising, support to vaccine procurement, cold chain, and capacity building of vaccinators, social mobilization, monitoring and evaluation. 7.162 doses of polio vaccine were procured and donated to cover a target population of 2.9 million children in Uzbekistan.

In 2011, UNICEF provided technical support to the Ministry of Health to conduct a nationwide campaign against measles and rubella for 8 million children (1–14 years) by covering a vaccine gap of 1.5 million doses and necessary devices. With this campaign, Uzbekistan made a big step towards reaching the regional goal of eliminating measles and rubella.

In 2011–2012, with financial and technical support from UNICEF, the Ministry of Health implemented a project on «Increasing Population Demand for Routine Immunization Services».The project aimed to build awareness and understanding of parents and caregivers on the importance of immunization for their children and increasing demand for vaccination. A number of multimedia communication materials featuring prominent actors and sportsmen were developed for national broadcast and a billboard campaign launched throughout the country to promote immunization among families. Innovative community mobilization activities, such us street theater plays were also carried out, contributing to the higher demand for routine and supplementary immunization among the most disadvantaged groups of the population (mobile groups, those living in remote areas, etc.).

Author: UNICEF

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