The Global Alliance for Vaccine Immunisation (GAVI) has handed 12 vehicles to the Zimbabwean government for its Expanded Program on Immunisation (EPI).
The vehicles, procured through UNICEF will strengthen the program by providing support in service delivery, surveillance and logistics, all critical components to an effective and health care.
In his acceptance speech during the handover ceremony at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, Director of Curative Services in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Sydney Makarau acknowledged the positive impact the vehicles will have on the immunisation efforts.
“The vehicles will improve integrated outreach in hard to reach communities and enhance disease surveillance and logistics at provincial and central level. The vehicles will facilitate availability of vaccines at service delivery levels at all times as well as enhance the capacity of the health facilities to offer intergraded health service,” he said.
Along with the vehicles, GAVI, has also provided US$1 million worthy of equipment supplies which will be distributed to the 18 priority districts around the country.
UNICEF Chief of health, Nejmudi Kedir Bilal emphasised that it is of great need for children to receive optimum health services.
“The first five years of a child’s life are the most critical in their development and are the foundation upon which they will build their future.
“It is critical that they receive optimum health services at this time and immunisation is one of the most cost-effective public health interventions to date, saving millions of lives and protecting countless children from illness and disability,” said Bilal
EPI is one of the most successful programs in Zimbabwe with remarkable progress being made in vaccination coverage among infants and women of child bearing age.
According to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MISC) 2014, 69.2% OF Zimbabwean children are fully immunised .Zimbabwe has a 92% measles/ rubella coverage and 94% rotavirus coverage.
Of great importance is that Zimbabwe has been reported polio-free since2005. In the past 10 years, Zimbabwe introduced the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine, the rotavirus virus and the Human-Papilloma Virus vaccine.
Since 2002, GAVI has partnered with the government in saving children’s lives and protecting people’s health by increasing equitable use of vaccines .
The country attained Universal Child Immunisation in 1990 with considerable reduction in morbidity and mortality from vaccine preventable diseases and longer inter-epidemic periods of measles up tp 2008