Immunisation is among the most successful, most equitable and most cost effective public health interventions, reaching four out of five children globally. Through its Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI), UNICEF Madagascar extending access to new and improved vaccines. Under the programme the number of fully immunised children has risen over the past decade, and Madagascar has made progress towards controlling measles, eradicating polio and eliminating tetanus.
Through Mother and Child Health weeks held in 2008 and 2009, 80 percent of children under one year received a measles vaccination and a combined vaccination for diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and influenza; and nearly 85 percent of women were vaccinated against tetanus.
UNICEF is also working to improve the cold chain for the distribution of vaccines. Ensuring the chilled distribution and storage of vaccines is a serious problem in Madagascar, where many health facilities are remote, and located in areas with irregular electricity supplies.
Following Madagascar's 2009 political crisis, UNICEF Madagascar is doubling expenditure on vaccines in 2010, to cover a gap in national funding for routine vaccinations for children and pregnant mothers.
Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus: The Silent Killer
Maternal and neonatal tetanus is a swift and painful killer disease that continues to claim lives in Madagascar. With support from UNICEF, WHO and UNFPA, a new national plan, launched in 2011, seeks to eliminate the disease.
Immunisation: a UNICEF priority
UNICEF promotes the worldwide use of immunisation and vitamin A supplementation as effective means of achieving the Millennium Development Goal of a two-thirds reduction in under-five mortality by 2015.