Health and nutrition


Immunisation +

Integrated management of childhood illness



Immunisation +

© Dept of Health South Africa
Women with babies line up in the recent polio and measles campaign

The full Immunisation coverage rate in South Africa currently stands at 82% nationally (NDoH Info 2004). Through Reach Every District (RED) strategy it is aimed at increasing immunisation coverage in low performing districts, UNICEF collaborates with the Government, partners and communities to ensure improved quality health care for children through the Extended Programme of Immunisation (EPI).

The UNICEF South Africa Immunisation+ programme supports and aims to add value to the Government's own national programme already in place. One challenge lies in the quality of health information, which is particularly problematic at the level of provincial health facilities where data is not always adequately analysed for purposes of monitoring and the development of reliable child data sets.

Move to Auto-disposable Syringes

An Auto-disposable syringe survey conducted in 2004 to determine the quality of injection safety practices in three low-performing districts in Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces have received support from UNICEF.  Recommendations are being made to the government on the need to move from ordinary disposable syringes to Auto-disposable syringes, which are considered safer and to reduce the transmission of HIV through immunisation.

Polio Free Status

Following recent outbreaks of polio in Botswana, South Africa's northern neighbour, and in Nigeria, South Africa has stepped up its surveillance to detect the disease. South Africa is working towards attaining World Health Organisation polio free certification status by the end of 2005 and therefore the Government has announced plans for a polio immunisation campaign beginning in July 2004.  All provinces have their own measles and polio campaigns. Containment of the wild polio virus is essential and is maintained through a sound vaccination policy, stringent lab conditions and effective surveillance and reporting on any suspected cases.

To maintain the appropriate level of coverage in communities, periodic polio and measles campaigns have been ongoing throughout South Africa with particular focus on high risk areas over the past 10 years. Now these campaigns, which include a social mobilisation and information campaign to help parents, caregivers and communities recognise the need for immunisation, have been the focus of the national campaign.
UNICEF provides technical support to assist South Africa in attaining polio free status by the end of 2005, via a mass polio and measles campaign starting in July through September 2004. This is part of a Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) regional initiative involving Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia.

Neonatal Tetanus Elimination Status

In 2001/2002, UNICEF along with World Health Organisation were instrumental in facilitating the process of having South Africa declared neonatal tetanus eliminated. Certification of the country's Neonatal tetanus-free status was granted in January 2002.


National and Provincial Departments of Health





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