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Prevent. Protect. Immunize - European Immunization Week in Georgia

24 countries in Europe unite efforts to combat infectious diseases throughout the week

16 April, 2007 - Tbilisi, Georgia. The Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs in collaboration with the National Centre for Disease Control, WHO and UNICEF is leading the communication efforts related to the European Immunization Week. The main goal of this one week campaign is to raise awareness of the population about the benefits of immunization. The week's core message is: "prevent, protect, immunize".

A press-conference dedicated to the Immunization week will be held at the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs on 18 April; special talk shows and programmes on immunization will be organized on leading TV channels; newspaper articles and TV spots will continue to air within the framework of the UNICEF-supported Communication for behaviour change (COMBI) campaign; round-tables on immunization will be held in two regions of Georgia and special school lessons on immunization will be organized on 18 April in different schools throughout the country. The school lessons will be held within the ongoing UNICEF supported Communication for behaviour change (COMBI) campaign to educate children about the importance of timely vaccination and to have them serve as “personal sellers” of the message in their homes. The children will receive school calendars including information on immunization.
 
“According to the UNICEF-supported Baseline Survey on immunization, the knowledge of mothers in Georgia on immunization issues is very low,” says Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative in Georgia. “According to the information received from the health facilities only 7.9 per cent of children are vaccinated on time. Mothers think that they can do the vaccination later when child is older. This is not correct. Our campaign aims to changing the above behaviour and at increasing the percentage of timely vaccination.”

The UNICEF-supported Communication for Behaviour Change (COMBI) campaign launched in February 2007, aims at improving immunization coverage of children below one year of age and at reducing the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases. The campaign calls mothers and other caregivers to ensure the timely immunization of their children at two, three and four months of age.

The communication campaign includes a mix of interventions, such as administrative mobilization, public relations, interpersonal communication, and advertisement through mass-media, school promotion and business partnership for immunization. 

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European Immunization Week is an initiative to raise awareness and increase knowledge about vaccine-preventable diseases and the benefits of immunization. The goal of the campaign is to increase immunization coverage by raising awareness of the need and right of every child to be protected against vaccine-preventable diseases.

While a dramatic decrease in cases of vaccine-preventable diseases has made many contagious diseases a thing of the past for most people in the Region, these diseases continue to cause illness, disability and even death. More than half a million children in the Region do not receive basic vaccination. All countries have vulnerable or hard-to-reach unimmunized groups, and outbreaks of infectious diseases continue to occur.

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About UNICEF

UNICEF is on the ground in 155 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:

Maya Kurtsikidze, Communications Officer, UNICEF Georgia
Tel: (995 32) 23 23 88, 25 11 30
Email: mkurtsikidze@unicef.org  

 

 

 
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