Turkmenistan ensures sustainable investments in essential vaccines for all children
On the occasion of the World Immunization Week, UNICEF commends the Government of Turkmenistan for maintaining high sustainable public investments in immunization to ensure that all children in the country are reached out by free and accessible lifesaving vaccination.
“Immunization is one of the most successful and cost-effective public health investments we can make for a healthy future of children. Globally, each year, approximately 1.5 million children still die unnecessarily from diseases that could have been prevented by vaccines. There are complex reasons to this, including issues of access to vaccination services, insufficient human and financial resources allocated to immunization programs. Turkmenistan’s sustainable and increasing investments in immunization is practical determination of its commitment to strengthen maternal and child health with increased capacity of a future generation. The survival, health and well-being of women, children and adolescents are essential to achieving all the Sustainable Development Goals. UNICEF will continue to support the Government in providing procurement services to all vital immunization supplies for the routine series of vaccination, as well as in introducing new vaccines into the national immunization schedule”, said UNICEF Representative in Turkmenistan Shaheen Nilofer on the occasion of the World Immunization Week.
The recent findings from the 2015 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey provided evidence of more than 95% full immunization coverage among children along with progress in other critical child well-being indicators, which is the result of the strong political will and allocation of the public resources in immunization, as well as in health, education and social protection programmes for children and families. Immunization not only saves lives, it contributes to the social and economic wellbeing of communities and returns 16 US$ for 1 US$ invested in by saving in healthcare costs, lost wages and productivity due to illness.
In 2015, the Government of Turkmenistan and UNICEF signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for procurement of life saving vaccines for over 40 million US dollars. The scope of the MOU enables the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry to procure essential drugs and equipment for child survival and health. The total amount doubled from the previous six-year agreement, which reiterates the Government’s commitment to protect children from various forms of vaccine preventable diseases.
Partnerships with the Government of Turkmenistan and UNICEF on immunization started in 1994 when the Government signed an agreement called the Vaccine Independence Initiative. Since then Turkmenistan became fully self-sufficient in vaccine procurement and has sustained high immunization coverage. UNICEF and WHO have provided support to the Government of Turkmenistan in polio eradication, training on immunization programme management, safe immunization practices, upgrading existing cold chain facilities, and development of a computerized monitoring system for vaccine distribution and utilization. Last year, the Government of Turkmenistan upgraded cold chain equipment for all primary health care facilities, as well as introduced the administration of the new Human Papilloma Virus vaccine for all 9-year-old children, both girls and boys, across the country.
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 for children, visit www.unicef.org.