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Vaccination

Going the extra mile in Laos

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A quarter of the world’s children are still not protected against diseases for which vaccines are available. Many of them live in remote communities like the Lanten ethnic minority in northern Laos. Lao Peoples' Democratic Republic tripled its immunization coverage of diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus (DPT) from about 18 per cent in 1990 to 56 per cent in 1999. This success was due to strong government commitment, substantial financial support and tenacious health workers who go to even the most remote locations to vaccinate every child. This is a story of two of these vaccinators who travelled to the village of Nam Chang (Elephant River) in the hills of northern Laos. UNICEF, World Health Organization, Japan International Cooperation Agency, AusAid, Rotary International and other partners support this programme.