Asmara — The National Meningitis Vaccination program and distribution of vitamin 'A' commenced today, 15 November in the presence of senior Government officials, representatives of UN offices in Eritrea and stakeholders.
Speaking at the event, Ms. Amina Nurhussen, Minister of Health, said that in recognition of the importance of vaccines, Eritrea has been working diligently to reduce the negative impact of vaccine-preventable diseases and that Eritrea has policies and appropriate strategies to reduce morbidity and mortality and thereby increasing productivity that would directly and indirectly contribute to the economic development of the country.
Minister Amina went on to say that currently 12 types of vaccines are being provided to prevent diseases including tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, whooping, and meningitis and Rota vaccine among others.
Minister Amina also said that in Eritrea there are 285 static immunization program sites, and 385 outreach sites and that using these approaches it was able to achieve 95% coverage against ten diseases which are on controlling stage while practically eliminating poliomyelitis and both maternal and childhood tetanus.
D. Martins Ovberedjo, WHO Representative, said that the Meningitis Belt starches from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia and Eritrea in the east comprising a population of 450 million people and that makes the program very important.
Dr. Martins also commended the commitment of the Eritrean Government in terms of channeling resources to the campaign and expressed confidence that Eritrea is on the right track to eliminate meningitis and to reduce the morbidity and mortality among the vulnerable population.
The UNICEF Representative in Eritrea, Ms. Shaheen Nilofer on her part said that Eritrea is embarking on one of the largest meningitis vaccination program and distribution of vitamin 'A' and expressed that UNICEF will support for the success of the program.