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Building trust in immunisation
Author: James Brindley
Djizzakh Region, 19 September 2014 - On the 22nd of every month, the ‘Kitiloy’ village health facility (SVP) in the Djizzakh region is visited by local mothers and their children under two years, to be vaccinated against measles, rubella and other serious but preventable illnesses. From June 2014 the vaccines available at the facility expanded to include the Rotavirus vaccine, that will help to prevent potentially-fatal diarrhoea cases.
This free service offered by the ‘Kitiloy’ SVP is part of joint initiatives by UNICEF and the Ministry of Health, undertaken to ensure that parents immunise their children as early as possible, and on time. Chief Nurse Motabar Sherkulova told visiting UNICEF staff that making sure parents bring their children in for immunisations boils down to building trust in the procedure’s safety and effectiveness.
“I provide consultancy services to families, before the vaccination date and indeed before children get to the vaccination age, about the benefits of the practice,” Ms. Sherkulova said. “I also show other children who have been vaccinated and are healthy.”
“Working with communities to make them believe in the benefits of vaccination – this is the most important thing.”
To make sure that it’s surrounding six villages with over 5,300 residents receive the best possible immunisation services, the ‘Kitiloy’ SVP has improved its own staff capabilities and available equipment. The facility’s staff have been trained in safe vaccine administration and cold-chain use, while a separate room has been prepared and equipped for storing vaccines.
Ms. Sherkulova and her colleagues also regularly educate community members about the availability and importance of vaccination. She highlights that the vaccines, including the recently released Rotavirus vaccine, are provided free by the government, are essential for preventing diseases, and must be administered on the right dates to be effective.
In addition to providing immunisation services, the SVP also has a team that offers medical checks for children up to 14 years. Six patronage nurses provide home visits and assist both children and elderly citizens, while those residents needing care can either receive treatment for doctors or nurses, or be treated at home by doctor advisors. Key assistance is also offered in maintaining the health of pregnant women.
“Since this year is the ‘Year of the Healthy Child’, we are paying a lot of attention to women of reproductive age,” said Chief Doctor Rayhon Darveshova. “We offer consultations for them, and provide information to help women be healthier and happier.”
Strengthening immunisation practices has been a key initiative undertaken by UNICEF Uzbekistan in 2014, which is both the ‘Year of the Healthy Child’ and the 25th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Visit the health programme section of UNICEF Uzbekistan’s website to find out more.