Turkmenistan has successfully observed World Immunization Week
ASHGABAT, 26 April 2013 – Annual celebration of the World Immunization Week has become an intrinsic practice in Turkmenistan. This year Turkmenistan has joined this global initiative to reinforce its political will and commitment for sustainable and effective immunization programme.
At the beginning of the week, a national information awareness campaign has rolled out in all regions of the country, including remote settings to flag the importance of routine vaccination of all children. Outreach communication interventions are targeting medical specialists, general public and school children. The special feature of the 2013 campaign is an inter-sectoral approach, which engages health workers, school management, teachers, and children as agents of change thus giving weight to promotion messages and contributing to its overall.
Immunologists, mid-level and medical specialists at primary healthcare level, students and the faculty of the Medical University and five medical colleges are engaged in subject matter initiatives. A medical conference devoted to the World Immunization Week is conducted at the State Medical University to update health experts on the national developments and global vaccination trends.
In cooperation with the Ministry of Education, a special lesson on immunization issues is organized at secondary schools within the Life Skills Education course to highlight the life-saving value of vaccines and motivate children to be pro-vaccine advocates in their families and local communities. “Such health promotion interventions among school students are extremely useful not only for better health outcomes but also because children have a potential to be carriers of information among their peers and adults. Our role is to effectively utilize this capacity and increase children’ knowledge and confidence in doing so.”, said the Principle of the School 52 of Ruhabat District.
School-based communication initiatives were complemented by press and broadcast media featuring immunization issues for parents. At primary health care level, dedicated counselling units and hotlines have been set up to provide advice and respond to population’s queries about vaccines.
The Government of Turkmenistan maintains its commitment to ensure that every child in the country receives a complete set of vaccines. Since 2001, the Government has been fully financing vaccine related procurement through the state budget and has been also increasing its budgetary allocation. High-quality, low-cost vaccines and safe injection equipment are purchased through UNICEF. Moreover, the Government puts substantial efforts to further strengthen the quality of healthcare services by ensuring the sustainability and effectiveness of the cold chain management system and focusing on remote and underserved urban and rural areas.
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