UNICEF boosts Immunisation support in Vanuatu

Routine immunisation outreach in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Source: UNICEF Pacific

UNICEF will commemorate World Immunisation Week and support routine immunisation outreach so babies from birth to 12 months receive all vital vaccines, by providing four vehicles to Vanuatu’s Ministry of Health (MoH) today.

Mr. Andrew Parker, Chief of the UNICEF Vanuatu Field Office, said, “As part of UNICEF long-term support to the Ministry of Health, UNICEF continues to ensure children under 12 months have access to vital vaccines through procurement of vaccines and provision of funding for outreach to community level.”

He added, “The four vehicles will provide transport to ensure health workers are able to reach and vaccinate every last child in remote communities of Vanuatu.”

Maternal Child Health Clinics in Port Vila and Northern District Hospital in Luganville will each receive a vehicle to support nurses for outreach activities and follow up on children who have dropped out of the immunisation programme.

Sara Mauri Health Centre in the Big Bay Bush Area in Santo, one of the more difficult and remote areas with a wide catchment area, will receive a vehicle to support both outreach and general emergency referrals. The fourth vehicle will facilitate vaccine supply from the national cold store to respective provincial levels.

“Many challenges contribute to high dropout rates in Vanuatu that result in children failing to receive all of their scheduled vaccines. One of these is transport,” stated Mr. Parker.

“By facilitating greater access to communities by nurses undertaking immunisation programmes, we believe the Ministry of Health will be better able to achieve full vaccination coverage,” he added.

UNICEF, WHO and UNFPA jointly contribute to the MoH business plan on issues of Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent health.

Through the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) programme, WHO and UNICEF ensure babies from birth to 12 months receive regular health checks and immunisation through clinics and outreach to protect them from vaccine-preventable illnesses.

The four vehicles are provided to the MoH with funds from UNICEF resources, for use by the EPI Unit.

The World Immunisation Week runs annually from April 24-30.

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child.

Together with its partners, UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

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