4 May 2012

Central African Republic: Country Organizes the African Week of Vaccination

Bangui — Following other countries in Africa, the Central African Republic is organizing its African Week of Vaccination from the 4 to 10 May. This is the second round of a campaign that was very successful in April 2011.

The main purpose is to strengthen the immunization programme in the Central African Republic and fast-track activities against diseases that can be prevented by vaccination, drawing attention to and raising awareness of the importance for every child and every woman to have the right to be protected against such diseases.

Our expectations are to halt the circulation of the polio virus in the country, to bring coverage up to an optimal level and to use this opportunity to start introducing new vaccines in the country.

As part of this African Week of Vaccination, two main interventions are being organized. From the 4 to 6 May, the third vaccination campaign against polio of 2012 continues an emergency response to four cases of polio found in the Central African Republic in 2011, and aims to reach all children aged 0-59 months across the country. From the 7 to 10 May, all health centres in the country as well as temporary vaccination sites will participate in an intensification of routine immunization.

Social mobilization prior to this will encourage people to bring 54,410 children aged 0 to 11 months to receive their routine vaccinations, and 62,183 pregnant women to be vaccinated against tetanus and receive additional iron and folic acid as well as preventive treatment for malaria with SP (sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine). The official launch took place on Friday, May 4th at Boali presided over by His Excellency the Prime Minister.

The 2012 African Week of Immunization Week has benefited from a sustained focus and an effective partnership between the Government, WHO, UNICEF and other health development partners.

National commitment around vaccination has been very high, as seen in the presence of the highest state officials on the ground, providing direction and sound decision-making to manage campaigns.

The communities, partners and health staff across the country are committed to making every effort to ensure that the African Week of Immunization is a success. This is an opportunity for the Central African Republic and its national health partners to drive out polio and other diseases targeted by the Immunization Programme and reduce one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world.

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