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World Immunization Week 2016

© UNICEF/UNI131983/Sokol
SOUTH SUDAN: A health worker vaccinates Fadma Juma, 3, at a medical checkpoint in the Gendrassa camp for refugees, in Maban County, Upper Nile State.

Immunization and children in conflict 

World Immunization Week is held each year at the end of April and to help refocus public attention on the importance of vaccination for all children – particularly those who are consistently excluded. This event is celebrated by UNICEF, immunization partners, governments and civil society organizations around the world.

Around the world, 18.7 million babies – nearly 20 per cent – do not receive a complete set of commonly available vaccines and are vulnerable to life-threatening diseases . As long as they aren’t reached with immunization, an estimated 1.5 million children will die needlessly of preventable illnesses, when vaccination could offer an affordable and simple way to protect them.

All children, no matter where they live or what their circumstances are, have the right to survive and to thrive. Children affected by conflict are among the most likely to be denied this right.

Children living in conflict are often the most vulnerable to disease outbreaks like measles and polio which can cause death or profound disability. Conflict often results in a breakdown of vital health services and prevents children from accessing medical care, even when services are available.

Children affected by conflict are pushed into a downward spiral of deprivation that robs them of their health and by extension, their futures. Vaccines can break this vicious cycle and restart an entire chain of services that protect children’s health, such as nutrition screening, vitamin A and medical care for common childhood diseases.

Vaccination is a vital service for children that deserves and requires protection from all parties to a conflict. Yet attacks on health workers and facilities are on the rise , with devastating immediate and long-term consequences for children.

Get connected to UNICEF's immunization work around the world:

If children are vaccinated, they can grow up to fulfill their dreams. See some of them in this video
One in five children are denied the fair chance of a healthy future because they aren't vaccinated. 

Why fairness in immunization matters
In a low-income country like Madagascar, children from richer, urban families are 1.5 more likely to be immunized than those living in poor rural areas. A child with an educated mother is 1.7 times more likely to be vaccinated than a child whose mother has no formal education.

In Pakistan, a vaccinator’s resolve
Travelling far and wide, a veteran vaccinator dedicates himself to protecting the health of children in Pakistan, where the recent introduction of pneumococcal vaccine has helped save more lives.

Getting children immunized – going the extra mile in CAR
Like most things in the Central African Republic, the vaccination system is decidedly low-tech...

A partnership to help vaccinate children against measles in Pakistan
A measles vaccination campaign in Pakistan relies on the dedication of local health workers, coordination of government authorities and the support of international partners in order to provide life-saving immunizations to millions of children.

Protecting pregnant women from malaria – a missed “quick win”
In the eight years since we commemorated the first World Malaria Day, millions of women and children have continued to die from a disease that is both preventable and treatable.

Lives depend on it: Fighting malaria in Chad
Concentrated efforts to fight malaria in Chad mean the disease is facing powerful adversaries: mosquito nets and the dedicated health volunteers who teach communities how to use them. Watch a video about fighting malaria

Vanuatu’s ‘10,000 in 10’ campaign 
Vanuatu, 2015: Tropical Cyclone Pam, which hit on 13 March, has disrupted access to safe water and sanitation in the South Pacific island nation, increasing children’s risk of water- and vector-borne diseases. The ‘10,000 in 10’ campaign, launched on 18 March, aims to immunize 10,000 children 6 to 59 months of age against measles and rubella, in 21 villages over a period of 10 days.

© UNICEF Pakistan/2015/Zaidi
With a vaccine carrier and equipment on his motorbike, Farrukh Hussain travels to the remotest areas of Pakistan's Nankana Sahib district to vaccinate children.



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