Children receive essential vaccines at fun-filled Spilno Spot
At a UNICEF Spilno Child Spot in the Ukrainian city of Rivne, children can play with friends and receive crucial routine vaccinations
"Hello! I've come to get the vaccine in my mouth,” announces six-year-old Ivan as he enters the child-friendly Spilno Spot opened in Rivne, Ukraine by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
Today, Ivan is having his fifth dose of the oral polio vaccine according to the immunization schedule. In order to make vaccination even more accessible to all, mobile teams from the Ministry of Health are visiting the Spilno Spot in Rivne, as well as in other cities.
"Polio is a dreadful disease,” says Oleksandr, Ivan’s father. “And it is very good that vaccines exist and that they work. I urge parents to think about their children first and foremost and not to delay vaccination.”
"No preparation is required before vaccination, no need to change your lifestyle or diet,” explains Viktor Moroz, who oversees the immunization department at the Rivne Regional Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “Nothing special needs to be done. Why not come and get vaccinated? There is no problem!"
During his vaccination, Ivan receives a T-shirt and some stationery from UNICEF. He then happily runs off to play with the other children.
"I want to be healthy and I understand I have to be vaccinated for that,” he says. “Then I'll be protected.”
Ivan encourages his peers to get vaccinated.
"Yes, it can hurt a little, but in a few seconds the pain will be over. So, tell your parents: ‘I want to get vaccinated’.”
Family doctor Nadiia Ischuk is busy vaccinating people at the Spilno Spot. She says that the mobile team she is part of has necessary vaccines – those against diphtheria, pertussis, polio, tetanus, measles, rubella, mumps, and COVID-19.
Nadiia is keen to improve the relationship between doctors and young patients, and to simplify the path to quality health care.
"It's really important for children to be in an environment that doesn't feel like a hospital,” the doctor says. “There are a lot of interesting materials and toys here. We can pay more attention to a child, as well as show and explain things and calm them down."
According to Viktor Moroz, more than 6,000 children in the Rivnenska region were yet to receive routine measles vaccinations for various reasons, so it is crucial to encourage parents to vaccinate their children.
"Measles has a cyclic pattern,” he says. “In our region, an outbreak occurs approximately every five years. The most recent one was recorded at the end of 2018, and now we anticipate another one. The primary cause of these outbreaks is the lack of vaccination among children. Our goal is to protect as many children as possible, utilizing various locations such as healthcare facilities, mobile teams and places like Spilno Child Spots, where children can enjoy themselves while receiving vaccinations.”
A national campaign to protect children from measles is underway in Ukraine. In 2022, to support immunization across the country, UNICEF procured more than 2 million vaccine doses at the request of the Ministry of Health and the National Health Service, and this year has already delivered over 1.1 million doses, including more than a million doses of polio vaccine and almost 700,000 doses of measles vaccine.