Bank, Unicef support vaccines campaign

Health Watch

THE roll-out of vaccines to protect children against cervical cancer, pneumonia and rotavirus has begun in Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu.
It is part of a project called system strengthening for effective coverage of new vaccines in the Pacific funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The project was established to support the procurement of rotavirus, pneumococcal conjugate and human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccines through the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).
The project is supporting the health ministries in immunising 90,700 children against pneumonia, 71,600 children against rotavirus and 84,200 adolescent girls against HPV infections in the Pacific island nations.
Regional director of ADB’s Pacific office in Fiji Masayuki Tachiiri said the project was making good progress, improving overall immunisation coverage rates, supporting greater efficiency of primary health services and raising community awareness.
“It will also help to strengthen the region’s resilience against other infectious diseases in consideration to re-opening of borders and economies,” Tachiiri said.
Unicef Pacific representative Sheldon Yett said while the focus of the world was on boosting immunisation against the Covid-19, “we can’t afford to trade one health crisis for another”.
“We thank the bank for its continued and strengthened partnership in the Pacific and working with Unicef to protect children and young people from these vaccine-preventable diseases.”
In the Pacific, pneumonia and diarrhoea are two of the top three causes for mortality in children under five. – ADB