Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 12 March 2012. (PAHO/WHO) - Haiti's Minister of Public Health and Population, Dr. Florence Guillaume, called on "Friends of Haiti" countries, national and international organizations, and the Haitian private sector to contribute funding for a new "Intensive Activities for Child Health" initiative. The effort, which will be launched on 21 April, seeks to scale up vaccination against measles, rubella, and polio, and provide vitamin A and deworming medication to more than 2.5 million children, from newborns up to age 9.
The appeal came on 12 March during a meeting of the Interagency Coordinating Committee (ICC) on immunization in Haiti, which discussed vaccination coverage in Haiti, funding gaps and a new proposal for improving and strengthening the Regular Vaccination Program (DPEV), maintaining polio elimination, and monitoring the elimination of measles, rubella, and polio.
Dr. Socorro Gross, Assistant Director of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization, praised the efforts of Haiti's Ministry of Public Health and Population to expand vaccination coverage and improve the nutritional status of children.
"It is an opportunity to show that this is possible in Haiti [tnt: please check original for missing text: "demostrar que EN Haití es posible"] and that together we can achieve it" asserted the Assistant Director of PAHO/WHO. Dr. Gross recalled that ten years ago, in 2002 [tnt: please check: first VWA was in June 2003], Haiti hosted the launch of the first Vaccination Week in the Americas and now, in April 2012, the country will once again make history as the venue for the launch of the Tenth Vaccination Week in the Americas, which coincides with the celebration of the first World Immunization Week.
Dr. Gross also pointed out that, thanks to its national commitment, Haiti has made enormous strides in modernizing its Expanded Program on Immunization by introducing new vaccines, strengthening the cold chain, and contributing to the elimination of measles, rubella, congenital rubella syndrome, and polio, all with the goal of reducing child morbidity and mortality in the country.
At the end of the meeting, representatives of various national and international entities conveyed their support and pledged technical and financial assistance for the ministerial initiative.