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More than two million children in Tajikistan vaccinated against measles and rubella

DUSHANBE, TAJIKISTAN, 12 October 2009 – More than 2.2 million children in Tajikistan have been vaccinated during a national measles and rubella immunization campaign, which ends today.

“More than 97 percent of children aged 1 to 14 years around the country have been vaccinated thanks to a joint effort between the Ministry of Health and its international partners,” said Nusratullo Salimov, Tajikistan’s Minister of Health. “Today we are confident that the campaign has been a great success.”

Although the campaign ends today, vaccination of children that for various reasons have not been immunized during the campaign will continue until the end of October. Starting in November 2009, vaccination against rubella will for the first time be introduced into the national routine immunization calendar.

UNICEF Deputy Representative in Tajikistan Ms. Ruth Leano added, “Timely immunization against childhood illnesses is an important and proven tool to prevent illness and to improve health and well-being of children. I would like to congratulate Tajikistan on the successful campaign.”

The country-wide, two-week immunization campaign was led by Tajikistan’s Ministry of Health, with financial and technical support from UNICEF, the World Health Organization and a coalition of other Measles Initiative partners, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Red Cross and the United Nations Foundation. The vaccination took place in policlinics, schools, boarding schools and pre-school institutions throughout the country. In remote districts vaccination has been conducted by mobile units. More than six thousand medical workers have been engaged in the vaccination campaign.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

About the Measles Initiative
The Measles Initiative is a partnership committed to reducing measles deaths globally. Launched in 2001, the Initiative— led by the American Red Cross, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United Nations Foundation, UNICEF and the World Health Organization—provides technical and financial support to governments and communities on vaccination campaigns. To learn more, visit http://www.measlesinitiative.org/.

For more information, please contact:
Dr. Shamsiddin Djobirov, Director-General, Republican Immunoprophylactics Centre, Ministry of Health of the Republic of Tajikistan,
Tel.: +992 (37) 221 10 73

Alexander Sodiqov, Communication Officer, UNICEF Tajikistan,
Tel.: +992 (48) 701 14 89, 701 14 90;
E-mail: asodiqov@unicef.org

Margarita Balasanyan, Consultant, WHO Tajikistan,
Tel.: +992 (48) 701 14 72;
E-mail: mbal.who@tajnet.com

Christian Moen, UNICEF Media Section, New York,
Tel.: +1 212 326 7516; Mobile: + 1 917 299 1041;
E-mail: cmoen@unicef.org




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