Region 9 lauded for 95% vaccine coverage in 2016
(GEORGETOWN- March 24, 2017) – AISHALTON a Region Nine (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo) topped all other communities in Guyana for vaccine coverage last year said Dr Ertenisa Hamilton, Director (ag) of Maternal Child Health (MCH) department.
Dr Hamilton said while internationally Guyana has been recognised in the last decade for maintaining an overall 90 percent country-wide vaccine coverage, the hinterland community achieved 95 percent in 2016.
Hamilton made the disclosure this week during a two-day visit to the interior community in the presence of high level officers from Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI); the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); the Pan American Health Organisation World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) and other Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) officials.
During their two-day stay the foreign and local delegation congratulated and honoured health practitioners and the community on their stunning achievement. Members of the foreign delegation comprised Dr Anuradha Gupta, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of GAVI; Maria Soledad Urrutia, Health Systems Specialist, PAHO/WHO, Washingston DC; Sylvie Fouet, Guyana Representative, (UNICEF) and L Homero Hernandez, Senior Country Manager, Region of the Americas Country Programmes and Dr Janice Woolford, Immunization and Family Health Consultant of PAHO/WHO.
Dr. Shamdeo Persaud, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) headed the MOPH team which also included Drs Hamilton and Roland Choyee, Regional Health Officer, Region Nine.
GAVI’s Dr. Gupta during her brief remarks noted that each year, some 110 million children receive vaccines globally. This means that that every second, somewhere in the world, healthy children are being vaccinated.
“You can see that immunization does not require big hospitals and structure; you can give vaccine to a child, under a tree of an open space”, Gupta said.
Recent research has shown that vaccines help to improve the cognitive development of a child, enabling them to concentrate for longer periods resulting in improved learning.
Immunisation, Gupta said, has helped prevent unnecessary contraction of diseases and deaths.
In her closing remarks she saluted the community for their hard work and emphasise GAVI’s commitment to supporting immunisation in Guyana. “We are extremely pleased that Guyana is a small country but has shown very big will and a huge effort because there is no new vaccine that Guyana has not introduced”.
CMO Persaud spoke of the key role of vaccination for children and adults.
“The visit is demonstrating to our partners how important…giving a vaccine is and how eager the parents are maintaining the health and well-being of their children”, Persaud said.
Dorothy James, Deputy Toshao, Aishalton pointed out that although the demographics of the region varies, the health workers and community continue to toil through ‘thick and thin’ to ensure that the community remains healthy.
“We commend our partners and say a great thanks for supplying vaccines free of cost,” James said
In the 1970’s vaccination targeted six diseases: measles, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, diphtheria, tuberculosis. In 2012, antigens were introduced which protected against, yellow fever, hepatitis B, mumps, heamophilus influenza, rubella, rotavirus and pneumococcal and meningococcal The human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine was the most recent added to the immunisation programme.
This has shielded the public from several vaccine-preventable diseases. The Ministry of Public Health has moved from a childhood programme over the last decade to include adolescents, and now the entire family under the motto ‘Not any child or family left unvaccinated’.