Bosnia and Herzegovina marks European Immunization Week under the slogan: “I am the child – immunize me”
Sarajevo, April 20, 2008 – This year, European Immunisation Week (EIW) is being marked in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) for the second time, from April 21 to 27; UNICEF will be supporting a number of activities related to the promotion of immunization, with funding support from the German Committee for UNICEF.
EIW will be marked in 33 countries of Europe, targeting especially marginalised and hard-to-reach children, most of whom are not fully immunized. Appealing to adults to respect the rights of children to be immunized and protected through safe and timely immunization, BiH will mark the EIW under the slogan “I am the child – immunize me”.
The key activities of Ministries of Health and UNICEF this year will target three groups: parents, health workers and political leaders. For the Week, UNICEF will support the production of information materials on the importance of immunization programmes, for parents and health workers. In addition, UNICEF will support 150 mobile teams to perform catch-up immunization in the field, mostly among Roma communities and returnees, as well as the promotion of supplementary vaccination against rubella and measles and promotion of the maintenance of BiH as a “Polio free country”. In order to educate 300 health workers, there will be 21 trainings organised all over the country. European Immunization Week will also be marked in kindergartens, through the exhibitions of children’s artworks related to immunization. The media will be invited to cover all of these events in order to help raising public awareness on the importance of immunization.
“Based on previous experiences, we decided again to organize catch-up immunization for Roma and returnee children, who were not covered by regular immunization programmes. Our attempt is to fully immunize these children, but also to promote importance of immunization, using the new vaccine against meningitis, that was recently incorporated in the vaccination calendar,” said Dr. Mitar Tesanovic, Epidemiologist from RS.
A special Declaration on European Immunization Week and immunization as the right of the child will be presented and possibly adopted at the Parliament sessions in both Entities, in order to ensure governmental support to immunization programmes. According to Prof. Zlatko Puvacic, Federal Coordinator for Immunisation, this is the only way to ensure sustainability and prioritisation of immunization programmes within Entity Governments. The WHO Office in BiH also gave extensive technical support in the planning of EIW.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 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:
Nela Kacmarcik, UNICEF BIH, Sarajevo, Kolodvorska 6
Phone: +387 33 723 300, Mob: +387 61 192 084