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Uzbekistan to Mark World Immunization Week: Talk Show Discusses Critical Issues of Immunization Globally and in Uzbekistan
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, 28 March 2013 – In the build-up to the World Immunization Week on 24-30 April 2013, the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Uzbekistan, UzNTT Channel and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) organized a television talk show on the importance of routine and supplementary immunization for children and adolescents.
The talk show served as a platform for young parents, adolescents and media representatives to get answers to their questions about immunization from a panel of experts. Ministry of Health and UNICEF explained the immunization schedule as per the National Calendar, which covers immunization against 10 preventable diseases caused by infections among children aged 0 to 16 years old. They also talked about the latest immunization trends in Central Europe and CIS countries, shared global statistics, and covered vaccine safety issues.
During the talk show, UNICEF experts reminded the audience that immunization is a key step that all parents need to take for the survival, growth and development of their children and give them a good start in life. Higher immunization coverage ensures higher protection against preventable diseases and ensures Uzbekistan’s contribution to A Promise Renewed – a worldwide Call to Action launched in June 2012 for child survival and wellbeing. The Government of Uzbekistan joined this initiative last year, thus committing to work with renewed determination to accelerate declines in child and maternal mortality and to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 by 2015. In this regard, UNICEF experts also reminded that immunization is among the most successful and cost-effective public health interventions, and has the potential to substantially reduce child mortality.
“UNICEF is providing vital support in strengthening the immunization system in Uzbekistan,” - commented Dr. Dilorom Tursunova, Deputy Head of the State Sanitary Epidemiology Surveillance Department of the Ministry of Health. “This support includes procurement of vaccines, including those for supplementary immunization purposes, and further development of vaccinators’ capacity, so they can provide quality services to population,” Dr. Tursunova said.
During the talk show, invited experts also talked about the project on “Increasing population demand for routine immunization services”, which is being implemented in 2012 with financial and technical support from UNICEF. The main focus of the project is working with various groups of population who do not fully understand the importance of immunization for protecting the life and health of a child.
“Strengthening the immunization system is a life-saving public health initiative, however, it is hard to succeed if there is a disbalance between ‘supply’ and ‘demand’ sides,”, - underlined Dr. Svetlana Stefanet, UNICEF Chief of Health. We design our activities in a way that allows for strengthening the system while working on increasing demand for immunization among population. In Uzbekistan, just as in the rest of the world we work with national partners and the civil society to raise people’s understanding that immunization is done to protect children from vaccine preventable diseases and keep them healthy and strong. Our ultimate goal is to communicate a very simple idea to the caregivers of all children: Immunization is free, safe and critical for a child’s health,” – Dr. Stefanet added.
In 2012, the Ministry of Health and UNICEF conducted a number of training workshops on vaccine safety and inter-personal communication skills for medical personnel.
Roundtables and meetings with communities, including mobile groups of population (luli) were organized. These interventions reached around 3 000 health care system representatives and 50 000 citizens.
Street theater performances devoted to immunization issues were staged in a number of country’s regions and were supported by a billboard campaign.
Public Service Announcements with participation of cinema, pop music and sports were produced and broadcast through UzNTT Channel.
The www.privivka.uz web-portal was updated serves as one of the important sources of reliable information on immunization available for those who prefer to obtain knowledge from Internet sources.