“I get my children immunized because I love them”

Immunization saves children's lives

Ndiaga Seck
Une infirmiere en train de vacciner la fille de Josena
UNICEF Haiti/2020/Edler
11 juillet 2020

Josena Aldtidor loves so much her seven-month-old baby boy Marc Carlo. Every morning, the 30-year-old mother bathes him in orange leaves so that his skin becomes firmer and pampers him all day long. In addition, she insisted on exclusively breastfeeding him until he was six months old. But Josena is not limited to this key family practice only: she gives her son all the vaccines that can protect him against preventable diseases.

“I get my kids immunized because I love them. If vaccines were dangerous, we wouldn’t give them to children. I’ll carry on vaccinating him. If I neglect and miss a vaccine, I won’t have the opportunity to catch it again,” she said, adding that she got immunization practice from her mom who would always vaccinate her children.

As of 8 July, 6432 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Haiti, including 2080 cured and 117 deaths. The Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) and UNICEF continue to step efforts to ensure that children are immunized against diseases such as measles and polio. Josena is one of the parents concerned about the health of their children and who brought them this morning to Bethesda health center in Cap-Haitian in Haiti, despite the context of COVID-19. To ensure hygiene and reduce the risk of coronavirus contamination, handwashing and wearing a mask are mandatory.

UNICEF Haiti/2020/Chokarella

“Despite the situation of COVID-19 throughout the country, we in Bethesda, continue to sensitize mothers and people in the community to always bring children for their vaccines,” the nurse Prudence Louissaint said. “Immunization plays a major role in the lives of children. It can save the lives of thousands of children. "

Immunization is made possible thanks to donors such as the United Arab Emirates, the World Bank and Gavi. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, many children have not been vaccinated. While false information has already been shared on social media about the efficiency of vaccines that cast doubt on the minds of parents and other caregivers, it took arduous proximity communication from health workers to bring parents to vaccination. In addition, posters, leaflets and flyers on the modes of transmission and pandemic prevention measures as well as on the wearing of a mask, were distributed.

For better quality vaccines, UNICEF and its partners continue to strengthen the cold chain in Haiti with the use of solar energy, which is more reliable in a country where the supply of electricity is not always assured. “We are replacing all gas refrigerators with solar refrigerators. People will have their vaccines available at the nearest health center with refrigerators that are also remotely controlled,” said UNICEF's Derline Mentor.

Despite the rumors and false information surrounding vaccination, Josena rightly believes that it remains the safest way to protect her children from diseases. “When I vaccinate my children, they don't get sick for a long time. My first child took all of his vaccines, he was never sick,” she said. Like all mothers, Josena wishes her baby boy Marc Carlo will grow up healthy and succeed in life.

Josena en train d'allaiter son enfant
UNICEF Haiti/2020/Edler
Josena breastfeeding her young child