Asmara, Eritrea, 21 May 2019 — Eritrea joined the rest of the African region to commemorate the 9th annual African Vaccination Week (AVW) from 22 to 28 April 2019 under the theme ‘Protected Together: Vaccines Work!’
Eritrea has received accolades as one of the best performing countries in the East and Southern African sub region in immunization coverage. During the AVW commemorations the country focused on increasing community awareness and to reach every child with lifesaving vaccines in all parts of the country.
“As a country, Eritrea has made significant strides in ensuring equitable and accessible immunization service to every child irrespective of his socio-economic status,” Dr Tsigereda Mehari, Director of Villagio Community Hospital said in an interview on Eritrea-Television health show.
She said there were still several children who were not reached with vaccines and called on communities to continue supporting the immunization program to protect every Eritrean child with from vaccine preventable diseases.
During the African Vaccination Week, Eritreans received key health messages in all the country’s languages on both TV and Radio. Community health mobilisers also intensified immunization information dissemination to the communities in the hard to reach areas.
The government of Eritrea has shown tremendous commitment to strengthen the immunization programme by co-financing the introduction of new vaccines.
At sub national level, using the opportunity of African Vaccination Week the immunization focal points at different levels conducted immunization sessions in the less accessible areas. During the sessions, the health workers provided health education and awareness raising activities to the caregivers. They emphasized on timely uptake of the vaccine doses and when to get back for the next doses. To maintain its good performance in immunization coverage Eritrea must continue ensure that no child remains unvaccinated for all antigens in all parts of the country. Incorporated into the annual African Vaccination Week, Eritrea is the biannual Child Health and Nutrition Week (CHNW) to avoid duplicating efforts. It was noted that both activities aim to track immunization defaulters and provide due and overdue vaccines, and vitamin A supplementation every 6 months for children aged between 6-59 months.