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Children take the lead for a healthier change in Yemen

Story by Ansar Rasheed, Communication for Development Officer, UNICEF Aden Field Office, Yemen
Photography by C4D partners

Aden and Al Dhale’e, Yemen, 26 December 2018 – In Yemen, every 10 minutes, a child dies from preventable causes. For the country where half of the health facilities are non-functioning and most health workers have not been paid in two years, immunization is a matter of life or death for millions of people, especially children.

Through its Communication for Development programme, UNICEF is engaging with children and adolescents to raise the awareness on the importance of vaccination and to increase the immunization coverage among their own communities.

In partnership with local organizations, children are trained to become behavior change agents and advocates for vaccination against preventable diseases. Each child supports the other children of his community by taking them to the nearest health facility to make sure that they complete their vaccination series.

From April to December 2018, 200 children have sponsored more than 2,000 others in their villages, in Aden and Al Dhale’e governorates.

“Rahaf is the 23rd child I am sponsoring. All children should be vaccinated to be healthy and happy,” tells Ibrahim from Burykha district in Aden. The 12-year-old is sponsoring Rahaf, 9 months old, his neighbors’ daughter, so she can be vaccinated against measles.

“Today is an important day for me because Muna has completed all here vaccine doses,” cheers Ammat Al-Alim, a 13-year-old girl from Daar Saad district, Aden.

“Rasha is my cousin and I came with her today so she can take her polio vaccine dose. I will follow up with her parents until she takes all her doses for her to be healthy and happy,” explains Ammer, a 11-year-old boy from Jalylah village in Central Al Dhale’e.

“Mohammed is the 18th child that I am taking care of. Today, he is taking his 6th vaccine dose,” narrates Karam, a 12-year-old boy from Tawahi district in Aden.

UNICEF, in close coordination with the local health authorities and partners, is striving to facilitate access to vaccination as one of the most critical basic health service for children and their families, especially in the most affected areas of the country.

With UNICEF's support, 4.6 million children were vaccinated against polio and measles since the beginning of the year (as of October 2018). These activities are implemented with the contributions from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre) and the United Arab Emirates.



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