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Photo Essay: Children act to increase child immunization in their communities

By Ansar Rasheed, Communication for Development Officer, UNICEF Aden Field Office, Yemen

Al Dhale’e, Yemen, 25 October 2018 - As the conflict approaches its fourth year, more than 16 million people still lack access to basic health care services in Yemen. Nearly 10,000 more deaths of children under five years may have occurred due to decline in healthcare, as half of the health facilities have stopped working. In this context, UNICEF continues to enhance children and pregnant and lactating women’s (PLW) access to essential health care services, supported by both routine services and mobile teams.

With the support of the United States Agency for International Development and in some efforts to actively engage communities, UNICEF Yemen launched the “Sponsor a Child” initiative to increase child immunization coverage among the targeted populations of Al Dhale’e governorate in southern Yemen. As a result, around 25 children from 13 to 17 years old have volunteered to help children in their villages to complete their dose vaccination series, thus ensuring an effective immunization coverage. Thanks to them, 370 children have completed their doses from March to September 2018.

Oqbah, 13-year-old, is taking part in the “Sponsor a Child” initiative in Central Al Dhale’e. “I sponsored 18 children in my village. Aminah is 4 years old and she is one of them. Today she took her second polio vaccine dose. She also completed all her other vaccination doses this week.”

Oqbal is accompanying Hajer to the village clinic so the 4-year-old girl can get her polio vaccine dose. “When I bring the child I sponsor to take his vaccine dose, I feel so happy that I helped them to have a disease-free life.”

Maryam is helping the vaccinator Khawlah to make sure that Abdulrahman will get all the necessary oral polio vaccine doses he needs to be fully vaccinated.

Fatima is committed to help the children in her village to get their vaccinations. Today, she is taking a selfie with 4-year-old Khalid, outside the health where he will be vaccinated for measles and polio.

“I am proud of Fatima. Thanks to her, Khalid is the tenth child to have completed his vaccination schedule. I am so impressed by her commitment and passion for these children,” says Mohammed, vaccinator at Central Al Dhale’e health facility.

Oqbal posing for a selfie with the children of his village he sponsors.

In Yemen, USAID contributes to the “Support to Maternal, Newborn and Child Health In Targeted Governorates” project, which aims at delivering services to 550,000 children under 5, including treatment for childhood illnesses to 100,000 children, and 264,000 pregnant and lactating women.

The funds are also used to support the capacity building of over 870 health workers, procure medical supplies and equipment including vaccines and cold chain and service delivery through multiple modalities including community outreach, mobile teams, health facilities.



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