No child too far
Health and community workers join forces to vaccinate children in the most remote areas.
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Carrying a vaccine-filled cool box on his bike, Thierry takes a canoe up the river to Ndayo, a remote village in Nord-Ubangi province. Although Thierry usually works closer to the Biasu Health Centre, as a community worker, he regularly travels dozens of kilometres to make sure children in remote villages receive all the vaccines they need.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), thousands of people live a long way from their nearest health facility. The Biasu Health Centre has decided to buck this trend by bringing health care to remote families. Twice a month, Thierry makes the journey to meet them with Léopold Dangbe, the head nurse at the health centre.
Before each visit, Thierry collects vaccines from a refrigerator installed by UNICEF at the health centre and transfers them to a cool box filled with ice packs. This box allows Thierry to maintain the cold chain, keeping the vaccines at the right temperature, even in the hottest places.
Today, Thierry and Léopold are in Ndayo, a village seven kilometres from the health centre. The distance might seem small, but there are no roads to the village. You have to follow tracks, walk through fields and take a canoe to cross the few kilometres separating the village from the health centre. Families in Ndayo are totally dependent on visits from Thierry and Léopold for their ongoing medical care.
In just a few hours, more than 150 children were vaccinated in the village. To make sure the cold chain is not broken when transporting vaccines, Thierry helps Leopold to administer them. He also explains to parents everything they need to know about vaccination and reminds them of essential practices to keep their family healthy.
More than 47 million doses of the different routine vaccinations were administered last year across the DRC. UNICEF supported the purchase of 85 million doses of vaccines to protect Congolese children from endemic diseases and localized epidemics.