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Child Health Services All Month for Children in Vanuatu

© UNICEF Pacific/2014/Alcock

PORT VILA, 3 November 2013 – This November, children under five years old in Port Vila, Luganville, and Lenakel will receive life-saving health services including immunisation, vitamin A and deworming free of charge thanks to the Government of Vanuatu with support from UNICEF, World Health Organisation and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

UNICEF Chief of Vanuatu Field Office, Diane Araki said “This integrated package is an important strategy in improving child health and survival. It aims to reach approximately 17,500 children under five years old.”

“Vanuatu is currently facing an outbreak of measles. Immunization is one of the most cost-effective interventions in preventing diseases such as measles, Hepatitis B, Pneumonia, Tuberculosis, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus and Polio,” she added.

For many years, measles transmission was interrupted in Vanuatu but with the low coverage of measles vaccines among children and outbreaks in neighboring countries, it has now returned. The recent Demographic Health Survey in 2013 revealed that only 1 out of 2 (52.6%) children between 12-23 months received the measles vaccine.  Children who never received at least one dose of the measles vaccine at 12 months are at high risk for contracting measles. 

The services provided during this month include: 

  1. Immunisation:  All children under five who have not been vaccinated with pentavalent, polio and measles vaccines;
  2. Vitamin A:  All children from six months to five years will receive a dose of vitamin A;
  3. Deworming:  All children age from one to five years will receive deworming tablets; 
  4. Hand washing and Soap: All mothers who have children under five years that attend the  service will receive soap and the nurse will demonstrate how to undertake proper hand washing; 
  5. Birth registration:  The health team will also be accompanied by a staff from civil registry who will provide birth registration and birth certificates for children who still have not been registered.   

Parents can bring their children to the nearest outreach immunisation post or to the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) clinic to access these services.

“Every child must have the opportunity to survive and thrive,” said Mrs Araki.

About UNICEF: 

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicefpacific.org

For more information, please contact Donna Hoerder, UNICEF on (679) 3236 100 or dhoerder@unicef.org

 

 

 
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