European Immunisation Week launched in BiH for the 7th time
With the slogan „Prevent, protect, immunise!“, the seventh European Immunisation Week was marked in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 20. April 2012, by the Ministry of Civil Affairs, two Entity Ministries of Health, and Institutes for Public Health, with the support of UNICEF and WHO.
The Conference on immunisation, attended by the epidemiologists and paediatricians from BiH, was officially opened by Minister of Health and Social Welfare from Republika Srpska, Ranko Skrbic, PhD, Federal Minister of Health, Rusmir Mesihovic, PhD, Head of WHO BiH Office, Mr. Haris Hajrulahovic and UNICEF Representative, Ms. Florence Bauer.
Both Ministers of Health confirmed the fact on decrease of immunisation coverage rate, caused mainly by the problems with vaccine supplies. However, they have also recognised the effects of anti-vaccine lobbies in the country and sometimes inadequate and reactive response of the relevant health institutions, as the possible causes of decrease.
Minister Skrbic stressed the fact the immunisation is a common responsibility of health authorities, epidemiologists, paediatricians, media and parents. „We are all responsible, not only for vaccines supply, but also for the safety of all our citizens. We must act stronger towards the promotion of immunisation, and focus on the health workers who are becoming more and more cautious and suspicious when it comes to immunisation.“, said Minister Skrbic.
Federal Minister of Health, stressed the importance of the joint and united efforts of all health institutions in the country. „This event, as well as the events to follow, during the European Immunisation week, are the great opportunity for establishing a fruitful dialogue with all the stakeholders in immunisation, especially the parents and paediatricians.“, said Minister Mesihovic.
During the event, the participants had the opportunity to hear about the position and experiences of paediatricians. For the illustration, there is a fact, that only in Sarajevo, less than 30 paediatricians are responsible for 33,000 children, which is a factor of constraint when it comes to quality communication with parents. The status of immunisation in Europe, was presented by Ms. Oya Z. Afsar, Immunisation Specialist from the UNICEF RO. During the presentations on the status of immunisation in BiH, the facts on the recent outbreaks of mumps and measles in the country were released, with an alarming number of 6063 people infected by mumps, as they have missed the MMR vaccine, during the war time.
European Immunisation Week, 21-27 April 2012 (joint statement)
The Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Federal Ministry of Health, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of the Republic of Srpska, and Department of Health and Other Services of the Brčko District note that vaccination can prevent the aforementioned diseases, most of which can cause serious complications, as well as some other diseases (read more)