The Minister of Health Dr Alexandre Manguele vaccinating children during the launch of the pneumonia vaccine.
Boane, Mozambique, 10 April 2013. The pneumonia vaccine known as PCV10 was launched in Mozambique today by the Ministry of Health with the support of UNICEF and partners.
The official event took place at Boane Health Centre near the capital city Maputo, where dozens of mothers with children under 12 months queued for the vaccination. Joining the Minister of Health Dr Alexandre Manguele for the official launch were district and provincial officials, partners, community leaders, health staff, as well as families and children.
"The introduction of the pneumonia vaccine in the routine cycle of the National Health System is a great achievement for Mozambique and its partners, including UNICEF. It will help reduce deaths due to pneumonia, which strikes mainly children under two," said UNICEF Officer-in-Charge Roberto De Bernardi.
Acute respiratory illnesses and pneumonia are second only to malaria in terms of child deaths in the country, killing approximately 10,000 children every year. The new vaccine is expected to significantly boost national efforts to achieve Millennium Development Goal 4 in reducing child mortality from 97 to 73 deaths per 1000 live births.
In support of this initiative, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Stewart Sukuma participated at the launch event raising awareness among community members about the importance of the vaccine, and encouraging parents to comply with the vaccination calendar.
"From today on our children have even better chances of survival," Sukuma told the crowd who danced and sang along to some of the singer’s most popular tunes.
In addition to the vaccine, other UNICEF supported interventions also help prevent pneumonia, such as exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months of life and regular hand washing.