Addis Ababa 23rd April 2018: The national African Vaccination Week launching in Ethiopia conducted with a press conference held at Hilton Addis Hotel in the presence of government higher officials, partners and different Media. The event was started by a brief presentation made by Federal Ministry of Health focusing on the objectives of the African Vaccination week, familiarization of the newly improved Maternal and Child Health card (Immunization card), which was also launched on this event as well as the next immunization priority directions.
The panel discussion with journalists was led by H.E. State Minister of Health, Dr Kebede Worku, Professor Yemane Berhan, Chairman of National Immunization Taskforce Group (NITAG) and Dr Ephrem Tekle Lemango, Maternal and Child health Directorate Director and Mulat Nigus Immunization Program Coordinator from Ministry. The panel was aimed to sensitize the media professionals on immunization benefit, newly improved MCH immunization card, and new vaccine introduction, in order they have the necessary information to raise awareness of the community through the respective media they work. More than 70 participates attended the event and of which 33 were media professionals and 47 were partners from WHO,UNICEF, USAID, CHIA , Rotary , MERK and other.
H.E. State Minister of Health, Dr Kebede Worku speaking to media during the event urged that “Vaccines are procured by the support of the government and partners and are expensive even though provided for free to the community, so urged it should be used with minimal wastage. He also pass message that health workers, parents and all concerned bodies at all level shall work hard to vaccinate unimmunized and defaulter children”.
Professor Yemane Berhan, NITAG Chair on his part speaking on the occasion stated the role of NITAG and the technical advice they provide to the Ministry of Health regarding immunization program to facilitate decision making of the government, vaccine procurement, and so forth. Professor Yemane also mentioned that NITAG members are committed to continue to support the government in strengthening immunization effort and improve the performance.
Dr Ephrem Tekle L., MCH Directorate Director of the MoH also explained the need to revise and change the previous immunization card which was used in the country for 30 years by the new maternal and child health card. He stated that the change is made for the advantage of children and mothers to serve as monitoring tool for immunization which in turn improves the performance. He also mentioned key additional contents included in the revised immunization card which include, the key message on adverse events on immunization, nutrition, vaccine schedule, growth monitoring and danger signs of postnatal. Moreover he added that the first page of this immunization card will serve as certificate which encourage mothers/caregivers to retain the card as it has finger print of a child which will be captured when a child is graduated or completed all vaccines. The distribution and utilization of the revised immunization card has been started and is ongoing.
The 8th African Vaccination Week launching also held in Gambella regional state integrated with World Health Day Celebration and on April 23rd, 2018 in the presence of the Gambella Regional state President, Gambella regional health bureau head and CORE Group chairperson.
The action points where done focusing on what is expected from all responsible bodies such as religious leaders, parents, stakeholders to improve the immunization coverage in the region.
WHO also sensitized partners using the opportunity of EPI Quarterly Review Meeting which was held on 24th April, 2018 at Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa where Ministry of Health and partners including USAID, CHAI, Rotary, UNICEF and JSI took part. The commemoration of AVW will continue to be implemented throughout the week 23rd 29th April, 2018 at all regions.