Washington, DC, March 9, 2011 – Officials from Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health met with counterparts from the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), UNICEF, and other partners here today to outline their new plan to improve immunization services in Haiti over the next five years, including the introduction of three new vaccines.
“We hope to start this multi-year immunization plan as soon as possible in order to save lives and protect Haitians,” said Ariel Henry of Haiti’s health ministry. “Diarrhea and pneumonia are the main causes of death in Haitian children, so we also plan to include rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines in our strategic plan.”
The new multi-year strategic plan for Haiti aims to improve vaccination coverage and vaccine management with the help of numerous donors and partners who were represented at the meeting, including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Canadian International Development Agency, UNICEF, USAID, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and others.
Dr. Ciro de Quadros of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, who chaired the meeting, said, “This plan shows the great work being done on immunization and the strong commitment to improve immunization services, and the international community backs the plan in Haiti.”
The new Haiti plan covers routine vaccination, epidemiological surveillance, social mobilization and communication, training and management from 2011 through 2015, with detailed costs and plans for inclusion of pentavalent and other new vaccines. Its aim is to strengthen Haiti’s basic Expanded Program on Immunization and convert it into a National Immunization Program targeting families, said Dr. Jon Andrus, PAHO’s deputy director.
Haiti’s health officials are working with PAHO and the partners to refine the new strategies and detail the vaccination plans, and to ensure it is funded and can be sustained for the next five years.
PAHO Assistant Director Dr. Socorro Gross told participants, “We congratulate you on the advances you have made in developing this multi-year plan. We believe the most cost-effective intervention in public health is vaccination, and this is a great collaborative effort.”