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Azerbaijan to launch mass immunization campaign in 2006

© UNICEF/SWZK000050/Pirozzi
Children of all ages will be reached by the 2006 immunization campaign

BAKU, 14 July 2005 – The representative of the Ministry of Health of the Azerbaijan Republic, the Vishnevskaya-Rostropovich Foundation, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) signed today a Memorandum of Understanding for a National Measles and Rubella immunization campaign in March 2006.

The campaign will cover more than three million people in just two weeks. Across the country, the campaign will target those aged 7 to 23, and those aged 23 to29 in the capital, Baku.

The campaign is a key part of Azerbaijan's overall measles elimination and congenital rubella infection prevention strategy.  It will be an opportunity to strengthen the routine immunization programme and will need very careful planning, particularly on logistics and on immunization safety practices.

Measles kills more children throughout the world than any other vaccine-preventable disease. Children who survive measles can still be affected by a range of permanent disabilities. Between 30 and 40 million children catch measles every year.  In 2003, approximately 530,000 died from the disease, often from secondary complications related to pneumonia, diarrhea and malnutrition.

“Everyone deserves to be protected from preventable diseases like measles," said Hanaa Singer, UNICEF Representative. "Every child needs to get this vaccine.  We need to intensify our efforts to reach measles elimination and this campaign is an important step in that direction. 

“Measles, rubella and congenital rubella infection remain important causes of vaccine-preventable diseases among children and adolescents within the European Region of WHO," said Dr. Nedret Emiroglu of WHO. "The initiative undertaken by the government of Azerbaijan is a major commitment, in line with the regional goal of measles and rubella elimination and in order to achieve this goal we have to vaccinate all susceptible individuals.”

The Ministry of Health will lead the campaign and is responsible for its planning, coordination and monitoring.

“The Ministry of Health calls on all international organizations, NGOs, governmental organizations and media to join efforts for the social mobilization of the population," said Dr. Ali Insanov, Minister of Health. "The government of Azerbaijan will be mobilizing all relative state bodies for the successful implementation of the campaign.” 

UNICEF will provide technical support in planning, supply procurement, cold chain maintenance and social mobilization.

WHO will provide technical support in the planning and review of the different aspects of the campaign at national and district levels on safety immunization practices, vaccine coverage, surveillance, training, development of training materials and AEFI surveillance system.

The Vishnevskaya-Rostropovich Foundation will provide technical support in planning, supply procurement, cold chain maintenance and communication.

For more information:

Ayna Mollazade, Communication Officer: (+99 412) 923 013, email: amollazade@unicef.org

 

 
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