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Partnerships Critical to Continue Success of Immunisation Programme in Pacific

NADI, 27 September 2010 – Representatives of regional and international agencies continued to praise the efforts of the Pacific Immunisation Programme Strengthening partnership in keeping the Pacific polio-free, near elimination of measles and reducing hepatitis B infection in children.
“It is a great pleasure to work with stakeholders towards common objectives for the betterment of child health through effective immunisation activities in this region,” expressed Mr Yutaka Fukase, Deputy Resident Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency at the 6th Pacific Immunisation Programme Strengthening (PIPS) Workshop which runs from September 27th – October 1st in Nadi.
His statement was echoed by UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Deputy Representative, Tim Sutton, “We can work together – building blocks of a healthy society.”
Mr Sutton told participants that UNICEF was seeking guidance on the development of a joint strategy for enhancing immunisation in the Pacific, including the possibility of developing one immunisation programme for the Pacific using the PIPS mechanism.
Immunisation managers from the Pacific, regional and international agencies and partners as well as donors converge yearly to provide opportunities to build capacity, share best practices, discuss practical solutions to overcome challenges and strengthen partnerships.
“Partners and member states need to work together to address weaknesses and to increase the public health impact of immunisation,” said World Health Organisation (WHO) Pacific Office Representative, Dr Chen Ken.
He added that “this workshop provides a valuable opportunity for member states, partners and experts to discuss relevant issues, agree upon needed actions and coordinate future plans.”
The Pacific Immunisation Programme Strengthening (PIPS) initiative was established in 2004 to coordinate and bring together technical and financial support for national immunisation programmes in the Pacific.
The workshop is being hosted by the Government of Fiji and is organised by UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organisations (WHO), United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Government of Japan and Japan International Cooperation Agency, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), and New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID).
United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Medical Epidemiologist, Dr Omer Gimana Pasi reminded participants of the proverb “if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go with others.”
“We are in this together and we want to go as far as reaching the last child,” he added.
For more information please contact Donna Hoerder, UNICEF Communications Specialist – External Relations, or 679 9265 518



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