Mothers urged to Immunise Children
The Assistant Minister for Health and Medical Services, Hon. Veena Bhatnagar urged mothers to immunise their children in the fight against vaccine-preventable diseases.
The Global and Western Pacific Regional Immunisation Week was launched at the Makoi Health centre today with the theme “Vaccination is everyone’s job, Protect your community”.
Immunisation Week is an annual event in the World Health Organisation (WHO) calendar to initiate global public health campaign to raise awareness and increase rates of immunisation against vaccine preventable diseases.
“Government is committed to improving the lives of our children. We have put strategies in place to supplement their nutrition such as the milk program for our primary school children, free bus fare to schools to ensure that none of these youngsters is deprived of primary school education and the strengthening the immunization programme,” Mrs Bhatnagar said.
The Assistant Minister added that in 2012 Government introduced three new vaccines that reduced childhood pneumonia and diarrhoea and the incidence of cervical cancer.
“Ninety-five percent of children under five in Fiji are fully protected against all vaccine preventable diseases as confirmed via Expanded Program of Immunization (EPI) coverage survey in 2013. This year, Fiji will conduct a blood survey for Hepatitis B which will inform us the impact of the vaccination program on childhood chronic infection rates.”
She added that the lack of awareness of the significance of immunisation, the loss of immunisation cards and disrupted immunization program schedules are some of the reasons why children were not fully immunised as identified via the coverage survey.
The Assistant Minister said there is a need for more public awareness and intensified efforts to close gaps on immunization.