On the immunization campaign trail in Syria
Vaccinating children is one of most cost-effective ways to protect their lives and futures.
In Syria, half of the primary health care system remains offline. Two out of five sub-districts do not have functional primary health care facilities, forcing families to either delay vaccinations or take long trips if they can afford it. This makes it challenging for some parents, particularly in the remote areas, to follow their children’s routine immunization schedule.
“We were out of the city for three months, my daughter missed some of her vaccines. Once we came back, I approached the centre to vaccinate Layan,” Nagham, Layan's mother said.
“When I was a baby like Layan, I received many vaccines. Now, she must get the same vaccines to be a big and strong girl like me,” added Limar. She accompanied her little sister and mother, Nagham, to the health centre.
UNICEF Syria, together with partners, works to vaccinate more children across the country.
“I received an SMS message encouraging parents to immunize their children against diseases, so I came here today to vaccinate my little girl,” said her mother Khatoun.
UNICEF’s activities include securing and distributing vaccines as well as keeping them safely stored through cold chain logistics.
Prior to national immunization campaigns, UNICEF also supports conducting door-to-door visits, setting up informative sessions with families and community leaders, and using educational posters and billboards to raise awareness of upcoming campaigns in communities.
The campaigns are regularly organized, jointly with the Ministry of Health and WHO, to help children catch up with the routine immunization schedule.
“I had my baby two weeks ago and I want to keep her safe,” said Maha. She brought her little old daughter, Alaa, to an UNICEF -supported mobile health point to be vaccinated during a national campaign.
In June, the five-day national campaign reached more than 775,000 children, under the age of five, across Syria.
The vaccination campaigns and routine immunization efforts are funded by the contributions from the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA/USAID); Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; and the Syria Humanitarian Fund.