Recent Immunization News
As Cholera Death Toll Climbs in Post-Earthquake Haiti, New Studies Show Disease Emerging as a Driver of Progress in Public Health
The deadly cholera
epidemic that rocked earthquake-shattered Haiti in 2010, claiming 8,000 lives
and counting, has rallied the public health
community to seek water and sewer improvements that, combined with vaccination,
could prevent some 89,000 future cholera infections.
Countries analyze proposal on evidence-based policy-making for national immunization programs
The 52nd PAHO Directing Council this afternoon discussed a proposal that aims to ensure that national immunization programs have the necessary skills to meet the challenges of decision-making processes. To achieve this, the proposal suggests expanding the evidence base beyond cost-effectiveness, institutionalizing an evidence-based decision-making process for new vaccines, and integrating policy-making and planning for national immunization programs.
The country representatives discussed the proposal and presented their experiences in this field. The delegate from Jamaica explained that in the last decade national immunization programs have been faced with complex decisions, such as the introduction of new vaccines. She said that the countries of the Caribbean do not have Technical Advisory Grups (TAG), but rather rely on the Caribbean Managers Meeting to receive support in the decision making.
Revolving Fund and its guiding principles
Delegates to the 52nd Directing Council passed a resolution endorsing the time-honored mechanisms and procedures of the PAHO Revolving Fund for Vaccine Procurement, including its policy to ensure that vaccines purchase through the Fund are acquired at the lowest price.
The resolution, introduced by the Minister of El Salvador, Dr. María Isabel Rodríguez, recognizes the central role the Revolving Fund has played in the success of immunization efforts in the Region of the Americas, urges countries to participate in the Fund by acquiring vaccines through it, and calls for the strict adherence to the Fund’s established principles, terms and conditions, and procedures.
(July) Guatemala establishes National Immunization Advisory Committee
As part of the activities conducted during the 11th Vaccination Week in the Americas & 2nd World Immunization Week; Dr. Jorge Villavicencio, Ministry of Health of Guatemala, swore in the members of Guatemala’s national Immunization Advisory Committee (CONAPI, in Spanish). The role and responsibilities of CONAPI´s members are regulated by Ministerial Agreement (MA) number 464-2013.
Originally established in 1985 to set forth evidence-based strategies for polio eradication, the PAHO Regional Technical Advisory Group (TAG) has presided 20 meetings to date. Progressively expanding its mandate to the current aim of strengthening the immunization policy dialogue among key stakeholders in the Americas involved in efforts to control vaccine-preventable diseases, TAG functions as the leading regional forum to review and promote regional goals and strategies for immunization. Specifically, the TAG reviews national immunization program progress and results, assists in the identification of research needs, and oversees the progress of research efforts in course. The XXI TAG meeting was held last July 3 to 5 2013 in Quito, Ecuador. 21 TAG Final Report, 2013
(May) Sharing Lessons Learned on Rotavirus Vaccine Introduction – Haiti Visits the Dominican Republic
From 20-24 May 2013, a Haitian team from the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) joined the EPI team of neighboring Dominican Republic (DR) in Santo Domingo for the DR to share its experiences in introducing the rota-virus vaccine into their National Immunization Programme last year.
Preventing cervical cancer in Argentina
In Argentina, the WHO-recommended human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is given to all girls at 11 years of age to prevent cervical cancer later in life. Whether or not a child gets vaccinated has nothing to do with socio-economic status in Argentina. Health centres right across the country provide all children free and compulsory vaccines against 15 diseases – 16 for girls.
New vaccine protects Haitian children from five diseases
Jean-Pierre knows that vaccinating his daughter, Isabel, is one of the best gifts he can give her. The head of the family is familiar with tragedy and death because he has seen them up close in the last three years: during the devastating earthquake that ravaged Haiti in January 2010 and took the lives of over 220 000 people; as a result of the winds and rains of Hurricane Thomas in October 2010; and during the ongoing cholera epidemic that began in November 2010.
11th Vaccination Week in the Americas seeks to protect 44 million people in 44 countries and territories against dangerous diseases
Health workers and volunteers throughout the hemisphere are gearing up for the 11th annual Vaccination Week in the Americas, which begins this Saturday, April 20, and extends through Saturday, April 27. Forty-four countries and territories are participating in this year’s
initiative, aiming to reach more than 44 million children and adults.
PAHO supports global efforts to eradicate polio
Immunization experts from the Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) were among the hundreds of scientists, doctors and other experts from around the world who signed the Scientific Declaration on Polio Eradication, declaring that an end to the paralyzing disease is achievable and endorsing a comprehensive new...
(March) PROVAC - EPI Costing Study in Honduras
The Pan American Health Organization’s (PAHO) ProVac Initiative is providing technical support to the National Immunization Program (NIP) in Honduras to develop a costing study, while piloting the ProVac Costing Tool. This study aims to generate detailed estimates of the recurrent and capital costs of the routine NIP in Honduras. Additionally, this study will provide some information on the cost of new vaccine introduction for the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine relying primarily on central level data. Furthermore, this study will help map the financial resources used for immunization, identifying the different sources and flows of financial contributions to immunization activities in Honduras at the central, regional and health facility levels.
(March) Advances in the Control and Surveillance of Pertussis in the Region of the Americas
Pertussis is endemic in the Region of the Americas and many countries report outbreaks or epidemics every four to six years. In an effort to better understand this disease, PAHO/WHO’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Immunizations has established a Working Group to develop a tool to aide in the investigation and reporting of pertussis outbreaks, in order to collect information that is comparable between outbreaks and across countries. The first meeting of this Working Group was held from 4-5 March 2013 and a second meeting will take place from 6-7 May 2013. During the first meeting, a format for investigating and reporting pertussis outbreaks was de-veloped, which is now being disseminated among epidemiologists in the Region in order to solicit their comments. During the upcoming May meeting, the Working Group will analyze feedback given regarding the above document and they will also examine the pertussis outbreak reports that have occurred over the last three years. These reports will allow for the analysis of the magnitude of the outbreaks, the epidemiology of the cases, the criteria used to confirm and discard cases, case definitions, and the laboratory methods employed.
(March) Vaccine Deployed as Part of Haiti’s Plan to Eliminate Cholera
The Haitian Government presented on 27 February 2013, the National Plan for the Elimination of Cholera in Haiti, 2013–2022. This plan outlines a comprehensive set of actions for cholera prevention and control, including the deployment of oral cholera vaccine (OCV). During the period 2013–2015, OCV campaigns are planned for densely populated agglomerations in metropolitan areas and remote rural communities that are difficult to access. Epidemiological analysis defines the areas to target. On the medium and long terms (2016–2022), OCV may continue to be deployed leveraging its distribution to strengthen the provision of other measures of cholera control and prevention (such as reinforcing case management, surveillance, hygiene and health promotion, and services for water and sanitation) and national immunization services.
(March) Technical Meeting for the Formation of a Network for Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Studies in Latin America and the Caribbean
Location: Antigua, Guatemala
Dates: 25 February – 1 March 2013
Purpose: 1) To exchange experiences and lessons learned in the implementation of pilot efforts in Central America to evaluate influenza vaccine effectiveness 2) To learn about the experiences of I-MOVE (a European Network to measure the effectiveness of influenza vaccines) and 3) To gauge country interest in conforming a similar network in the Americas.
Participants: Technical staff representing the influenza surveillance and immunization programmes of the Ministries of Health of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, and Uruguay, the European I-MOVE network, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Training Program in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network (TEPHINET), and PAHO.
(March) First Meeting of the Regional Working Group of the Project "Dengue Epidemiological Surveillance Model to Define Vaccination Strategies in Latin America and the Caribbean"
Location: Panama City, Panama
Dates: 19–21 February 2013
Participants: Experts from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, Mexico, Panama and US CDC; country/regional PAHO staff
Purpose: To convene the regional experts steering the project
(March) Fifth Regional Pneumococcal Symposium
Location:Sao Paulo, Brazil
Dates: 5-6 March 2013
Participants:Pan American Organization, Sabin Vaccine Institute, the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins University, Center for Diseases Control and Prevention, and epidemiological surveillance direc-tors from 26 countries.
Purpose: To assess the pneumococcal epidemiological profile in the region, and discuss the challenges and op-portunities of surveillance and vaccination in older children and adult populations.
(March) National Meeting to Evaluate the EPI Programme in the Dominican Republic, Including the Results of a Study of Missopportunities for Vaccination
Location: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Dates: 24-26 January 2013
Participants: Vice-Minister of Health of Dominican Republic, Dr. Rafael Schiffino, as well as the EPI Manager, Dr. Zacarias Garib and cooperation agencies such as PAHO and UNICEF, EPI managers from the 38 provinces.
Purpose: To evaluate the EPI performance during 2012, at the national, regional and provincial level, in order to identify challenges that should be overcome during 2013. This exercise will improve the planning process of the EPI programs, by effectively prioritizing the allocation of resources to those activities that will reduce the challenges confronted during 2012.
PAHO/WHO calls for improved health sector response for women survivors of violence
In observance of International Women’s Day, the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) is calling on the health sector to redouble its efforts in primary prevention, identification of abuse, and care for women who suffer violence in any form.
(February) Trinidad and Tobago Rolls Out HPV Vaccination Programme for Adolescent Girls
The Ministry of Health, Trinidad and Tobago has expanded the National Immunization Programme with the introduction of the Human Papillomavirus Vaccination (HPV), with an official launch by the Hon. Minister of Health, Dr Faud Khan, late last year.
(January) VACUNATON: One-Day Intensive Vaccination Strategy to Reach Measles and Rubella Vaccination Targets in Bolivia
In 2011, Bolivia initiated a measles-rubella follow-up campaign as part of its strategy to maintain measles and rubella elimination in the Region of the Americas and in response to the risk of virus reintroduction due to large outbreaks in Europe and Africa. Bolivia set a goal to vaccinate: 917,546 children aged two-five years old; all women aged 22-44 years old that were not vaccinated during the "speed-up campaign" of 2006 because of pregnancy; health care work-ers; and personnel in contact with tourists and travelers (airports, hotels and transportation terminals).
(January) National Elimination Commission Evidence on the Interruption of Endemic Measles and Rubella Viruses Circulation in Haiti
On 14-15 November 2012, members of the International Expert Committee (IEC) for documenting and verifying the elimination of measles, rubella and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), visited Haiti. The president of the Na-tional Elimination Commission presented evidence supporting the interruption of the circulation of endemic mea-sles and rubella viruses in a technical meeting with the national authorities, external measles and rubella subject-matter experts and strategic immunization partners. Posters from the ten departments, which highlighted the country experience in implementing the campaign, were also presented.
(January) The GAVI Alliance Honors Four PAHO Member States for their Immunization Achievements
Bolivia, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua received awards for their immunization achievements during the GAVI Alliance Partners’ Forum, held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on 5-7 December 2012.
The PAHO Revolving Fund makes influenza vaccines more available to countries
The PAHO Revolving Fund, a strategic mechanism that pools and organizes immunization demand plans and facilitates timely access to quality vaccines at lower prices for the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, was presented as an innovative model for meeting investment demands and addressing public health needs during the Workshop on Business Modeling for Sustainable Influenza Vaccine Manufacturing held at PAHO January 14-16, 2013.
“For countries, the Revolving Fund represents a permanent mechanism that not only promotes continuous access to safe and effective vaccines, but also that lowers and stabilizes prices, facilitates budget planning and contributes to the financial self-sustainability of the immunization programs,” said Mr. Daniel Rodriguez, Advisor for the PAHO Revolving Fund.
GAVI honors four PAHO member countries for their immunization achievements
Bolivia, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua were honored for their achievements in immunization during the GAVI Alliance Partners’ Forum, held 5-7 December in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
(November) International Expert Committee (IEC) for Measles and Rubella Elimination in the Americas Conducts Field Visits During November 2012
Members of the International Expert Committee (IEC) for Measles and Rubella Elimination in the Americas, exter-nal experts from other agencies, and the Pan American Health Organization’s (PAHO) regional advisor for measles and rubella visited Argentina, Colombia, and Haiti to conclude the process of documenting and verifying the elimina-tion of endemic measles, rubella and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) in the Region. The main objective of the visits was for the IEC to independently evaluate if the interruption of measles and rubella endemic transmission has been achieved in each country, recommend necessary revisions, and provide suggestions on additional measures for overcoming the remaining barriers in maintaining the interruption of measles and rubella transmission.
(November) Workshop to Systematize HPV Vaccination Experiences of Early-Adopter Countries
Location: Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Dates: 30-31 October 2012 Participants: Nineteen participants representing six countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, and Panama), the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the World Health Organization (WHO) and PAHO.
Purpose: The workshop objectives were to share national and subnational experiences in the introduction and implementation of HPV vaccine; identify strengths and weaknesses of managerial, oper-ational and logistical processes specific to immunization pro-grammes; establish the integration level with cervical cancer pre-vention and adolescent health programmes and existing opportuni-ties; and define lessons learned for other countries in the Region considering HPV vaccine introduction.
(November) Expert Consultation for the Development of A Regional Framework for Coverage Monitoring and Impact Evaluation of HPV Vaccination
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Dates: 8-9 November 2012 Participants: Eighteen experts from four Latin American countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Colombia), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Australian HPV vaccination programme and cancer registry, WHO and PAHO contributed to this consultation.
Purpose: To examine the report of a 2009 World Health Organization (WHO) meeting on a similar subject; share existing country plans and experiences; identify national capacities and opportunities for the surveillance of HPV-related diseases and HPV diagnostics; and outline the necessary steps toward the completion of a Regional proposal.
(November) Meeting of the Polio Laboratories Network
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Dates: 10-12 September 2012
Participants: Representatives of nine out of the 11 polio laboratories in the Region, as well as the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and PAHO’s Immuniza-tion Programme participated in the meeting.
Purpose: The main objectives of the meeting were to: review the status of the Polio Laboratory Network of the Americas; review and discuss recent advances in virological and molecular methodologies used in the Global Polio Laboratory Network (GPLN); and discuss issues relevant to the functioning of the Pan American Health Organiza-tion (PAHO) Laboratory Network and the management of laboratories.
(October) Bolivian Uru Chipaya Community Receives PAHO Immunization Award
The Uru Chipaya Ethnic Group of the Oruro Department of Bolivia received the 2011 Pan Ameri-can Health Organization (PAHO) Immunization Award for their activities to keep immunization coverage close to 100% in their area. The group was presented with a certificate of recognition, as well as a monetary gift in the amount of three thousand US dollars at the twentieth Meeting of PAHO’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Vaccine-preventable Diseases on 17 October 2012 in Washington, D.C (article in this issue of the GIN). PAHO created the Immunization Award to recognize outstanding contributions to a national immuniza-tion programme and to the control and/or elimination of vaccine-preventable diseases.
(October) International Evaluation of Colombia’s Expanded Programme on Immunization
A comprehensive international evaluation of Colombia’s Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) took place from 27 August-7 September 2012. The evaluation of the data quality component of the EPI evaluation started earlier, on 23 August 2012, as it was a full data quality self-assessment (DQS) including a review of the national immunization registry being rolled-out in the country. The primary objective of the international evaluation was to: assess the organization, structure, and operation of the national EPI to maintain achievements in the elimination of some vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs); address the unfinished immunization agenda by making the benefits of vaccination available to all; and, address new challenges such as the introduction of new vaccines. Evaluators visited six departments and the capital district of Bogotá, 24 municipalities, and 53 health care centres (public and private), and performed 686 interviews. Of those interviewed, 85 were from the political spheres, 65 EPI managers, over 100 managers from other programmes or representatives of cooperation agencies or institutions, and 383 users.
(October) Study of Missed Opportunities as a Strategy to Increase Vaccination Up-Take in the Dominican Republic
From 1-9 October 2012, the Dominican Republic implemented a study, with support from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), to assess missed vaccination opportunities in hospitals and health centres across the country in order to identify fac-tors contributing to low coverage levels in high-risk municipali-ties (DPT3 coverage < 85%). The results of the study will help develop and implement interventions in the short and long-term.
(October) PROVAC Initiative Provides Support to Honduras to Begin Costing Study of Routine EPI
From 24-28 September 2012, the ProVac Initiative led a planning mission to Honduras to begin preparations for a comprehensive costing study of the routine Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI). Honduras has introduced rotavirus in 2009 and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines in 2011 with support from the GAVI Alliance. In preparation for its upcoming GAVI-graduation, the country has requested support from the Pan American Health Organization’s (PAHO) ProVac Initiative to explore routine programme costs and financial flows to better inform long-term financial sustainability plans.
(October) OBITUARY: Dr Cláudio Marcos da Silveira: In Memoriam
Dr Cláudio Marcos da Silveira, a Brazilian epidemiologist who played an important role in the implementa-tion of immunization programs in the Americas, passed away on 28 August 2012 after losing a battle with cancer. During his years working for the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), he collaborated in the development and implementation of several immunization strategies that resulted in the regional control and elimination of various vaccine-preventable diseases, notably the regional elimination of polio and measles, and was one of the main architects of the strategy that eliminated neonatal tetanus as a public health problem in most countries of the Americas.
For more information on Dr da Silveira’s life, please visit this link.
Published in Global Immunization Newsletter, October 2012.
(October) Twentieth Technical Advisory Group on Vaccine-Preventable Disease Meeting, Washington, D.C.
The Twentieth Meeting of the Pan American Health Organization’s (PAHO) Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Vaccine-preventable Diseases was held from 17-19 October 2012 in Washington, D.C. Participants included focal points from PAHO’s country offices, US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, World Health Organization (WHO), WHO-EMRO, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors With-out Borders, GAVI Alliance, UNICEF, among others.
(October) Sixth Annual Mini Epi-Managers Meeting of the Dutch Caribbean
The sixth annual Mini EPI-Managers Meeting of the Dutch Caribbean was held in Sint Maarten, from 13-14 September 2012. The "mini-meeting" presented an opportunity for EPI managers from each island, to come together with representatives of the Immunization Department of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, to share experiences regarding their respective immunization programmes, strengthening inter-island collaboration to guarantee uniformity in programmes and create synergies between the EPI programmes of the Dutch Caribbean and of the Netherlands.
(October) “New Vaccines to Save More Lives” - Scientific Symposium in Haiti Examines the Qualities and Impact of New Vaccines in the Reduction of Child Morbidity and Mortality in the Context of the Introduction of The Dtp-Hib-Hep B Pentavalent Vaccine
Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a successful symposium in Haiti entitled, "Introduction of New Vaccines in Haiti’s Immunization Programme."
(October) Immunization in the Americas: 2012 Summary Now Available
The Immunization in the Americas brochure is published every year by the Comprehensive Family Immunization Project of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Its objective is to highlight the key data on vaccine-preventable diseases and the provision of immunization services in the countries of the Americas.
PAHO Celebrates 20 years without Polio in the Americas and Calls to Maintain High Vaccination Coverage
The Region of the Americas recorded no cases of wild polio virus since 1992 thanks to the efforts of the countries of the region, and technical cooperation of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), by vaccinating children and maintaining high vaccination coverage and sustained surveillance.
International Experts to Review Vaccination Progress and Challenges in the Americas
The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) on Vaccine-preventable Diseases will meet from October 17 to 19 in Washington, D.C., to study the current situation and decide on recommendations...
(September) Emergency Plan of Action to Maintain the Americas Free of Measles, Rubella, and Congenital Rubella Syndrome
On 20 September 2012, ministers of health of the Region approved an emergency plan of action to keep the Americas free of measles, rubella, and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) at the 28th Pan American Sanitary Conference. Given the continuing circulation of measles and rubella viruses in other regions of the world, countries of the Region continue to be exposed to high risk of virus importations. Moreover, some countries have reported weaknesses and failures in their national surveillance systems and routine immunization programmes, making them vulnerable to the reintroduction of viruses that can cause outbreaks.
(September) Colombia Introduces HPV Vaccine Into National Immunization Schedule
In August 2012, Colombia’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare introduced the human papillomavirus (HPV)vaccine into its national immunization schedule in order to significantly reduce the incidence of cervical cancer. Following an analysis of the current evidence available and a cost-effectiveness study of HPV vaccines, the MoH’s National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG), along with the Colombian Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the Colombian Society of Paediatrics, the Colombian Federation of Perinatology, the National Institute of Health and the National Institute of Oncology, agreed to recommend including the HPV vaccine in its national immunization schedule.
(September) Latin American Countries Participate in the Meeting of the American Immunization Registry Association (AIRA)
Representatives from Brazil, Chile, the city of Bogotá-Colombia, Honduras and Uruguay presented their experi-ence developing and using their computerized immunization registries at the first national meeting of the American Immunization Registry Association (AIRA) in St Paul, Minnesota on 19-20 September 2012. Also, a representative from the Immunization Programme of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) was invited to present an overview of the status of implementation of national immunization registries in Latin America.
(September) Meeting on the Current Status of Yellow Fever in the Region of the Americas
From 10-14 September 2012, a meeting was held in the city of Bogota, Colombia. The objectives of the yellow fever meeting were to provide an update on the prevention and control of the disease, diagnosis methods,research and management of adverse events, as well as crisis management and risk communication. Participants also reviewed the epidemiological situation of yellow fever in the Americas, outbreaks in selected countries, and vaccination plans for yellow fever.
(September) Vaccination: An Act of Love, Ten Years of Vaccination Week in the Americas - Book Launching
A new PAHO coffee table book entitled, Vaccination: An Act of Love — 10 years of Vaccination Week in the Americas, was launched on 18 September 2012 during the 28th Pan American Sanitary Conference.
(August) IDQA Pilot in Bolivia
Between 26 July-10 August 2012, a pilot of the new GAVI Alliance Immunization Data Quality Assessment tool (IDQA) was conducted in Bolivia. The assessment team included members from the Bolivian MoH, GAVI, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the PAHO. Two previous pilot activities have been performed in 2012 in Ghana and Uganda. The objective of this activity was to field test the IDQA protocol developed in 2011, in collaboration with an ad hoc task team in a Latin American country, in order to assess the capacity of the tool for diverse country-specific settings and inform the use of the IDQA rollout, expected in 2013. Bolivia has had an excellent record in immun-ization data quality, as evidenced by results from a data quality assess-ment performed in 2010, as part of an EPI evaluation conducted by PAHO.
(August) Intensive Health Activities Focused on Children in Haiti
In June, Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population successfully concluded its intensive health activities focused on children. A total of 3,045,529 Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) doses were administered to children aged nine years or less and 2,938,863 Measles/Rubella (MR) vaccine doses were administered to children aged between nine months and nine years. Likewise, a total of 1,210,438 vitamin A capsules were administered to children aged between six months and six years as well as 1,352,789 albendazol tablets to children aged two to nine years.
High-level Event on Polio Eradication in New York City
Next week (on 27 September), UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will host a high-level event on polio eradication, in the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York. The event, ‘Our Commitment to the Next Generation: The Legacy of a Polio-free World’ will bring together leaders of the remaining endemic countries, donor governments, development agencies, spearheading partners and representatives of the media, to draw attention to the urgent need for focus and commitment to eradicate the remaining 1% of polio cases worldwide.
The event will be followed by a global civil society festival on 29 September, bringing together top artists with an audience of 60,000 to a concert in New York’s Central Park, to catalyse further action to end polio and extreme poverty. For more, please visit www.globalfestival.com.
(July) Guatemala Celebrates the World Hepatitis Day
For the second consecutive year, Guatemala joined the celebration of the World Hepatitis Day in July 2012. As estab-lished in Resolution WHA63.18
, during the 63rd World Health Assembly, the country implemented strategies aimed at educating the population and creating awareness about viral hepatitis as a public health problem in order to pro-mote the implementation of prevention and control measures.
(July) International Workshop on Cold Chain Operations in Nicaragua
From 9-12 July 2012, an international workshop on cold chain operations was held in Managua, Nicaragua. The main objective of the workshop was to train EPI managers and cold chain managers on cold chain operations. Other workshop objectives included providing knowledge on the use of new tools and technologies, presenting guidelines for effective management of cold chain operations and to draw on regional experiences to homologize the text in the cold chain module that PAHO is updating. The purpose of PAHO’s Cold Chain Module is to help countries plan cold chain and supply chain operations for five to ten years from now, for both the introduction of new vaccines and supporting a growing population. The new Unit Five in the Cold Chain Module emphasizes management practices.
(July) The Dominican Republic Introduces Rotavirus Vaccine into National Immunization Schedule
On 4 July 2012, the Dominican Republic introduced the rotavirus vaccine into its national immunization schedule in order to prevent diarrhea in children and avoid mortality. The introduction of the vaccine was announced at the official launch in the Santo Socorro hospital. The first doses were administered by the Minister of Health, Dr Bautista Rojas Gomez and the Regional Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Mirta Roses to two children aged two months (photo).
According to Dr Rojas Gomez, the new vaccine will prevent the diarrheal infec-tion that affects virtually all children in the first five years of life. The Minister explained that the administration of this oral vaccine in all vaccination posts in the country will also reduce paediatric visits and congestion in hospitals. Dr Ro-jas Gomez also stated that with the addition of the Dominican Republic, more and more countries in Latin America include this vaccine in their immunization programmes, which he assured is a great achievement.