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Nation-wide Japanese Encephalitis vaccination campaign launched in Cambodia and to be introduced into routine immunization schedule

© UNICEF Cambodia/2013/Bona Khoy

JOINT PRESS RELEASE

Takhmao city, Kandal province, 01 March 2016:

Today, the Ministry of Health in Cambodia launched a nation-wide Japanese Encephalitis vaccination campaign to protect people against Japanese Encephalitis disease. Over 4.1 million children aged from 9 months to 14 years old are targeted to be vaccinated with the new Japanese Encephalitis vaccine SA 14-14-2 through setting up a vaccination post in each health center or health post, as well as villages and schools from 1 to 31 March 2016. The local government, the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports are working closely to make the campaign successful.

Following this campaign, the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine will be incorporated into the routine national immunization schedule.

Japanese Encephalitis, a vector-borne and potentially deadly disease, is endemic in most of Asia. It is estimated that 67,900 clinical cases of Japanese Encephalitis occur annually in the 24 countries of Asia despite widespread availability of effective vaccine. In clinical cases, approximately 20% to 30% deaths occur, with greater risk of severe disease and higher case fatality rate among young children less than 10 years old.

Japanese Encephalitis is considered as the leading viral cause of disability in many countries of South and South East Asia including Cambodia. Among severe cases, about 30%- 50% of the surviving patients have serious residual neurologic, psychosocial, intellectual and/or physical disabilities, with a higher rate of sequelae reported for children.

At the official launch of the campaign in Takhmao city, Kandal province, H.E. Prof. Eng Huot, Secretary of State, Ministry of Health said, “Japanese Encephalitis is a public health priority in Cambodia. With the introduction of the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine by the National Immunization Program followed by this campaign, no child will be susceptible to Japanese Encephalitis when they become an adult and are ready to start their own families.”

Effective planning, as well as monitoring and supervision are critical to the success of the campaign. H.E. Prof. Eng Huot Secretary of State, Ministry of Health encouraged all health staff and partners to work together for the protection of all children in the country. “Members of our health staff have done very well in every previous campaign, and I am sure they will do so again. It is important that this new Japanese Encephalitis vaccine reaches every child, especially those living in high risk, urban poor, remote and rural communities and ethnic and migrant populations,” said H.E. Prof. Eng Huot, Secretary of State, Ministry of Health.

Ms. Debora Comini, UNICEF Representative in Cambodia said: “Immunization has always been at the forefront of efforts to reach the most marginalized children. The introduction of the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine is a new step in the ongoing efforts to strengthen the protection of children in Cambodia against potentially deadly and debilitating diseases. We hope that this vaccination campaign will also help strengthen the health system and routine immunization to ensure sustainable provision of vital vaccinations to all children.”

Dr. Dongil Ahn, WHO Representative in Cambodia said “Vaccination is the most effective preventive measure and maintaining high vaccination coverage can drastically reduce Japanese Encephalitis. Introduction of Japanese Encephalitis following nation-wide campaign is the most effective immunization strategy to rapidly reduce the Japanese Encephalitis disease incidence in susceptible children from 9 months to 14 years old”. The partners congratulate the Ministry of Health for this historic effort of Japanese Encephalitis vaccination campaign and introduction, believe, it will be successful and will prevent thousands of death and disabilities, he added.

The Government of Cambodia was supported in the implementation of this campaign by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which has provided the vaccines, injection supplies and operational cost, as well as through technical support from WHO and UNICEF.

The Japanese Encephalitis vaccine SA 14-14-2 has been proven safe and effective with a single dose sufficient to provide the desired protection. The vaccines and auto disable syringes are WHO prequalified and procured through UNICEF procurement system.

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For further information please contact:

National Immunization Program, Ministry of Health
Mr. Ork Vichit
Telephone: +855-012830548
Email: orkvichit@yahoo.com 

World Health Organization
Dr. Md. Shafiqul Hossain
Telephone: +855 (0)12 917 755,
Email: hossains@who.int

UNICEF
Ms. Iman Morooka
Telephone: +855 (0)92 555 294
Email: imorooka@unicef.org

Download the Press Release in English

 

 
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