Over the past two decades, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Uzbekistan has been helping the Government to achieve and maintain high rates of immunization against preventable diseases in the country.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 1.5 million children under five died worldwide from pneumonia, diarrhea and measles in 2015. These deaths could have been prevented through vaccination and ensuring children's access to proper medical care.
To raise awareness and demand for immunization, World Immunization Week is organized in the last week of April. This year the theme of the campaign to promote vaccination is "Vaccines work" (hashtag #VaccinesWork).
Routine immunization is the basis of effective primary health care, it gives every child a chance to have a healthy life from birth. Immunization helps prevent suffering, disability and death from many diseases, including diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, whooping cough, pneumonia, cervical cancer, poliomyelitis, rotavirus diarrhea, rubella, and tetanus.
Today, no one would question the achievements of vaccination:
• Smallpox is completely eradicated on the planet;
• In Europe, East Asia and the Pacific, poliomyelitis has been eradicated and measles infection has been put under control;
• In the world, the incidence of tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, rubella, meningitis and hepatitis B was significantly reduced;
• Every year, more than 750,000 children avoid disability.
Thanks to the joint effort of the Ministry of Health, national and international partners, the country has managed to achieve high vaccination coverage against preventable infections, and to ensure a good epidemiological status. In the last decade, the coverage of routine preventive vaccinations has varied between 98-99%.
In 2015, a new pneumococcal vaccine was introduced in Uzbekistan to prevent such serious infections as meningitis, bacteremia, otitis media, sinusitis, and bronchitis.
Globally, UNICEF is one of the largest buyers of vaccines. In 2015, the organization procured 2.5 billion doses and 690 million syringes for immunization. For a number of years, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization has been funding provision of the population with new vaccines in Uzbekistan.
One of the priorities of the Government in the field of public health is ensuring the financial sustainability of the National Immunization Programme. While 54.1% of vaccines were purchased with state funds in 2004, it is planned to fund 100% of the vaccines from the state budget starting from the year 2021. In 2015, over UZS 13 billion was allocated for these purposes.
Author: UNICEF in Uzbekistan