Ethnic minorities children

Reaching the fifth child in Lao Cai, northern province.

Ethnic minorities children in Sapa district

by / Monday, 22 April 2013 / Published in Foundation / Tagged ,

Unicef Vietnam

Immunization is a successful and cost-effective way to save children’s lives.

24–30 April is World Immunisation Week

UNICEF has been a driving force behind universal immunization since the 1980s – behind reaching each and every child. UNICEF and its partners are now intensifying their efforts to ensure that the poorest and most disadvantaged children have access to immunization.

Bringing immunisation services to remote villages.

Every year, more than two million children’s lives are saved thanks to vaccination. It’s one of the most successful and cost-effective health interventions available against life-threatening diseases such as measles, whooping cough, tetanus and diphtheria. Across the world, four out of five children are immunised. That’s more than ever before. But the fifth child is not being reached, and UNICEF and its partners are now concentrating their efforts to ensure that this fifth child also has access to immunisation.

Whether they live in remote communities or city slums, whether they belong to ethnic minorities or marginalized groups, UNICEF is intensifying its commitment to reach the poorest and most disadvantaged children, those without access to education, health, protection and rights. Most live in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

UNICEF Viet Nam is scaling up its efforts to identify underserved populations and bring life-saving immunisation services to them. It’s an effort UNICEF is undertaking all over the world, as well as improving vaccine supply chain management and strengthening community engagement. UNICEF also wants to introduce new and under-used vaccines to protect more children against preventable diseases. But UNICEF urgently needs more funding to make this happen. We have the know-how, we have the technology, and we have the determination. Today, we’re at a crossroads; help us reach that fifth child, because that fifth child has a right to live, too.

World Immunisation Week in Sapa district

Unicef Vietnam

A parents brings in his children to be vaccinated at a health center in northern Viet Nam’s town of Sapa in Lao Cai province. Credit: UNICEF Viet Nam/2012/Sabine Dolan
World Immunisation Week in Sapa district

Unicef Vietnam

Giang Thi Mu, a 28 year old mother who came to have her 9 month old daughter, get her vaccination shots in Sapa. Credit: UNICEF Viet Nam/2012/Sabine Dolan

Saving children’s lives by vaccination & scaling up efforts to reach the most vulnerable.

It’s Immunization Day at designated health centres in northern Viet Nam’s Lao Cai province. Parents brought their children to be vaccinated or receive their follow-up doses.

“I heard about this immunisation day when health workers came to our community to inform our village and tell to us about vaccination,” says Giang Thi Mu, a 28 year old mother who came to have her 9 month old daughter, Hang Thi Thu, get her shots.

A half hour drive from the town of Sapa in Lao Cai, nestled at the foot of a mountain, is Sapa’s Tram Y Te Xa sub-district health centre, which serves a community of 4,633 people spread across 6 villages. Various hill tribe ethnic minorities live in this remote mountainous region near the border with China; many belong to the Hmong minority, like Giang Thi Mu. The mothers who walked to the centre today, heard about the vaccination drive thanks to community outreach efforts. Giang Thi Mu didn’t have to walk far, her village is just 500 meters away from the centre.

“At the village, the health worker explained to me how important it is for my children to get vaccinated so they don’t get sick,” she explains. There are 20 children in her village. All have been vaccinated, including Giang Thi Mu’s two older daughters, who are healthy, she says.

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Edward Jenner demonstrated the value of immunization against smallpox in 1792. Nearly 200 years later, in 1977, smallpox was eradicated from the world through the widespread and targeted use of the vaccine. In 1974, based on the emerging success of smallpox, the World Health Organization (WHO) established the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI).

The big picture

Through the 1980s, UNICEF worked with WHO to achieve Universal Childhood Immunization of the six EPI vaccines (BCG, OPV, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and measles), with the aim of immunizing 80% of all children by 1990.

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Progress has continued since then: by 2011, 107 million children were vaccinated with three doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP3) vaccine and global immunization rates were at 83%. Of the world’s 22.4 million children not immunized with DPT3, more than 70% live in 10 countries. Source: WHO/UNICEF.

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