Universal vaccination coverage – a key Public Health focus

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Ministry of Public Health through its Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) is looking to achieve universal vaccination coverage through a Multi-Year Plan 2017–2021 which seeks to achieve improved immunization coverage across the country.

Two critical factors had been identified in achieving 100 percent coverage. The first is the availability and optimal utilisation of adequate human resources. As such, the Public Health Ministry (MoPH) is adopting strategic efforts to strengthen human resource capacities in the health sector

This will be done through continuous capacity building initiatives that will ensure immunization staff are trained, adequately skilled and capable of effectively executing their duties thus making them efficient in this aspect of their jobs.

The next factor is the unhindered access to remote areas of the country. Guyana has vast interior locations with persons residing in far-flung regions, away from critical services.

Through better inter-sectoral coordination, the ministry is expected to foster enhanced transportation and logistical systems, supported by a robust public communication strategy. This will result in more persons having access to vaccines and to also be sensitised on the importance and benefits of immunization.

To complement what is being done, a comprehensive assessment of the status of the current cold chain equipment countrywide is underway. At a recent Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) review meeting, Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings indicated that increasing and improving the cold chain capacity is a priority even as the Ministry works towards universal coverage.

“Careful attention will be placed particularly on our hinterland regions where most of the challenges of cold storage exist”, the minister remarked.

Additionally, the ministry will have to enhance monitoring and evaluation capabilities, having them able to record those who have dropped out of the immunisation programme and those who require follow up visits.

“This strategic plan will trigger more home visits and other outreach activities inclusive of social mobilization initiatives utilizing appropriate public communication channels.” Minister Cummings concluded.

 

By: Delicia Haynes

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