In a visit to the immunization health facility in Suto Orizari – a facility that services a predominantly Roma community, Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, handed over to Bujar Osmani, Minister of Health a donation of equipment to ensure the safe storage of vaccines..
The donation is part of a larger package of interventions supported by UNICEF in collaboration with World Health Organisation (WHO) which will cover more than half of the clinics in the country and will help ensue the safe provision of routine immunizations for approximately 240,000 children
“We have an obligation and vested interest to work together to ensure all children are fully and timely vaccinated,” said Yett. “While vaccination coverage remains high in the country, there are communities, particularly among the socially vulnerable, where more needs to be done.”
In order to ensure effective vaccine coverage, reliable equipment to store vaccines as well as measures to ensure sustainable financing and management must be in place. A joint UNICEF and WHO assessment revealed that there is a strong vaccine storage and logistics system operating at national level, with centralized supply of vaccines of assured quality. However at the local level, two-thirds of the health clinics did not have reliable equipment to ensure effective storage of the vaccines used on a daily basis. To ensure all vaccines storage facilities through out the county meet international standards, the Ministry of Health committed core budget funds to procure in 2009 the additional vaccine storage equipment required for the remaining immunization health facilities.
In the course of the next year, UNICEF will continue to support the Ministry of Health to expand the training of immunization health workers on vaccine storage and handling. This builds on the support completed this year which focused on introducing a revised continuous medical education programme; efforts to improve long-term evidence based planning and financing of the immunization programme; and, developing an integrated information system that will be available in all immunization health facilities to help health workers identify and reach members of the community whose children are not being vaccinated on a timely basis.
The support is part of a UNICEF project to improve maternal and child health funded by the Government of Norway.
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 additional information please contact:
Suzie Pappas Capovska, Communications Officer, UNICEF Skopje, +(02) 3231-150, email@example.com