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Successful partnership leads to impressive results in child immunization - UNICEF congratulates the Institute of Vaccines as a top-quality vaccine producer

Hanoi, 23 November 2007 – On Friday in Nha Trang City, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC) celebrated 25 years of cooperation in producing vaccines to limit the incidence of preventable diseases among children in Viet Nam. IVAC is now a self-sufficient, high-quality producer of vaccines, fully capable of meeting the demands of Viet Nam’s national immunization program.

25 years ago UNICEF, the Government of Viet Nam and IVAC shared a vision that immunization programmes are probably the most cost-effective health interventions available to ensure the survival and development of the children in Viet Nam, and their healthy transition into adulthood. Starting in 1978, UNICEF responded to IVAC’s call for support and provided the institute with necessary equipment and technical support to produce sufficient quantities of the DTP (Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus) vaccine.
By 1993 the number of children fully immunised against the six key diseases had risen to over 90 percent, and currently exceeds 96 percent.  Between 1985 and 2004, an estimated 25 million Vietnamese children were vaccinated against Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus alone, with many more vaccinated against Polio, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis and other diseases. Due to the country’s consistently high immunization coverage, polio was eradicated in 2000, and maternal and neonatal tetanus in 2005.
Viet Nam impressive achievements in improving children’s health are also evident in infant and child mortality rates: between 1990 and 2006, the under-five mortality rate fell from 58 to 27 per 1,000 live births, and during this same period the infant mortality rate decreased from 44 to 22 deaths per 1,000 live births.

After more than two decades of cooperation with UNICEF, and with the invaluable support from a variety of donors such as Luxemburg, IVAC is now able to produce, distribute, and monitor the quality of essential vaccines. Current production meets not only domestic demand but is also destined to be used for export to other countries in need.

The phasing out of the direct support to IVAC is an example of the changing modality of UNICEF’s assistance to Viet Nam. “Today is not goodbye,” said Mr. Jesper Morch, UNICEF Representative in Viet Nam, “but rather a transition to a new phase in UNICEF’s support for the children of Viet Nam. UNICEF will continue to support and promote all efforts that increase child survival throughout the country, especially in hard to reach areas. Fewer inputs for supplies and activities like production of vaccines allows UNICEF to focus on increased advocacy and technical support for policies and strategic plans promoting the well-being of children in today’s rapidly changing Viet Nam. “

During the ceremony in Nha Trang to celebrate 25 years of cooperation, the director of the Institute for Vaccines was awarded with a certificate of appreciation from UNICEF.  Dr. Cao Minh Quang, Vice Minister of Health also attended the event.

For more information please contact

  • Caroline den Dulk (Ms), UN Communications Office
    Tel: + 844 942 5706, Mobile: 84 91 475 6592 Email: cdendulk@unicef.org.
  • Trinh Anh Tuan (Mr), UN Communications Office
    Tel: (84-4) 942 5706-11, Ext. 234. Fax : (84-4) 942 5705 Email: tatuan@unicef.org

 

 
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