A day-long vaccination training held on 6 March for health workers in Haiti kicked off the "Intensive Activities for Child Health" cycle aimed at stepping up immunization in the country. The Ministry of Health and Population of Haiti directs these activities with the support of the Pan American Health Organization, UNICEF, and other partners.
Departmental health coordinators and their nursing teams responsible for vaccinations, together with vaccination coordinators, epidemiologists and administrators from each of the country's departments attended the training. The goal is that they will replicate this know-how among the other health workers in their departments
Dr. Gabriel Timothée, Director General of the Haitian Ministry of Health, opened the event, affirming that he can visualize a day in which the country will be able to obtain certification for the elimination of vaccine-preventable diseases and remain free from measles, rubella, and polio. Doctor Lea Guido, the PAHO representative in Haiti, pointed out the importance of obtaining vaccine-preventable diseases certification and of using these activities as opportunities for institutional strengthening of Haiti's Ministry of Public Health and Population.
Next, Françoise Gruloos, the UNICEF representative in Haiti, emphasized that the international agencies will coordinate these activities in support of the decisions made by the country's ministerial authorities.
The Ministry of Health representative, Dr. Lourdes Bellote, presented the Ministry's objectives of stepping up the immunization campaigns and introducing new vaccines in the future. She explained that the training offered to personnel from the departments is intended to function as a "cascade" approach in which they, in turn, will train other health workers in their areas.
Dr. Jeannot François, attending on behalf of the EPI, remarked that the activities kicked off that day will be geared towards strengthening the permanent vaccination program. He stressed the importance of scaling up vaccination efforts given the population's susceptibility to vaccine-preventable diseases and the situation of coverage in the country.