Ministry of Health of the State of Eritrea in collaboration with WHO observed African Vaccination Week from 22 to 28 April 2019 under the theme 'Protected Together: Vaccines Work!'
The main objective was to increase awareness of the people and have equitable and accessible immunization service to every child irrespective of his socio economic status and where he/she is to have the right to be protected from vaccine preventable diseases and good access to immunization services.
During the African vaccination week, TV and Radio spots were broadcasted with key health messages in different languages of Eritrea to address and disseminate information to all ethnic groups in the county on immunization services.
In addition, Dr Tsigereda Mehari, Director of Villagio Community Hospital was given air-time on ERI- TV health show program to speak on African Vaccination Week. She said that vaccines are very important to protect children against vaccine preventable diseases. That's why the county is introducing a number of new vaccines and make it more accessible to all eligible children using various approaches. The government has also showed high commitment to strengthen the existed immunization schedules and financing the new vaccines. She gave an extensive explanation on vaccines and express her appreciation on community participation and sustainable demand on immunization services.
At sub national level, using the opportunity of African Vaccination Week the EPI focal points at different levels were able to conduct immunization sessions in less accessible areas. During the session, the health workers were able to provide health education and awareness raising activities on the caregivers for timely uptake of the vaccine doses and when to get back for the next doses to have high and sustainable immunization coverage according the national vaccination calendar.
Before launching of the African Vaccination Week, Eritrea had been carried out Child Health and Nutrition Week (CHNW) biannual. The main objective of the plan was to implement vitamin A supplementation every six months for children age 6-59 months and to conduct vaccine doses defaulters tracing activities to minimize dropout rates and promote timely uptake of the vaccine doses. To implement this plan mothers were advised to bring the child health cards while they are coming the vitamin A site to check the immunization status of the child and vaccinate with recommended dose if he/she was a defaulter.
Moreover, a vast social mobilization activities were conducting in all maternal and child health care and specifically on the national status of the under 5 year's age and pregnant mothers and necessary support was provided.
After the launching of the African Vaccination Week for the African Countries, Eritrea has reprogramed its plan and trying to address all the plans or intervention which had been initiated in the CHNW to incorporate in the AVW.