UNITE FOR CHILDREN-- UNICEF

Immunisation 2001–2005

Note: Pages in this section have been stored solely for archiving purposes. Information contained here refers to the 2001–2005 CPAP. Follow this link for current details about UNICEF programmes in Turkey.


Photograph by Rana Mullan © UNICEF Turkey 2004

Every child should be taken to the local health centre for vaccination as soon as possible after birth.
Photograph by Rana Mullan
© UNICEF Turkey 2004

Background

Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus (usually grouped together as DPT), Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B, Polio and Measles can easily kill children. All of these diseases are preventable with vaccination yet 46% of Turkish children between the ages of one and two years are not fully vaccinated. Measles, for instance, is the leading cause of preventable childhood deaths worldwide - of all health interventions, Measles vaccination saves more lives per unit cost. Since vaccination rates for all these diseases are below the necessary regional levels, the need to intensify vaccination programmes is critical.

The solution is to achieve the most extensive nationwide coverage rates of vaccination for children against Measles, Tuberculosis, DPT and Hepatitis B in order to prevent avoidable infant and child deaths. Although Turkey has recently been certified polio-free thanks to a major immunisation drive, the virus is rife in neighbouring countries which means that Turkey is still at risk. Turkey must continue to sustain Polio-free status and build on the experience to increase vaccination coverage against other preventable diseases. The Measles elimination campaign is part of a global WHO and UNICEF initiative similar to the successful Polio eradication programme to rid 51 European countries of polio.

The Immunisation programme aims to:

  • raise awareness of the necessity of immunisation among familes and communities;
  • ensure that frontline health personnel are adequately equipped and trained;
  • immunise 90% of babies under one year old against Polio, Measles, Tuberculosis, DPT and Hepatitis B;
  • maintain Turkey’s polio-free status;
  • achieve measles-free status for Turkey.

The Immunisation programme will achieve this by:

  • using lessons learned from the Polio eradication campaign to strengthen routine immunisation coverage;
  • focusing on immunisation against Measles as the biggest threat to child health;
  • building the capacity of the health sector and training health personnel;
  • sustaining Turkey’s Polio-free status through supplementary immunisation activities and improved surveillance measures.

It is expected that the Immunisation programme will contribute to the elimination of Polio and Measles, maintain Turkey’s polio-free status and achieve full vaccination of 90% of babies under one year old against five other preventable diseases.

Immunisation brochure coverRead Got Your Shots Kids? -- our simple guide to immunising your child against the major childhood diseases. [PDF 1.9MB]

Read more about EPI in Say Yes, February 2002. There’s more about Turkey’s successful Polio Eradication Programme in the Autumn 2002 issue.

The WHO/UNICEF 2002 Review of Immunisation Coverage in Turkey is downloadable in pdf format. [PDF 169KB]

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