Panafrican News Agency

Nearly 8 million women and children in Burundi expected at immunization days

Bujumbura, Burundi (PANA)  -  About 800,000 pregnant and lactating women, 2 million children under 5 and 5 million boys and girls under the age of 15 are expected at the first  edition of the 2019 “Mother Child Health Week (SSME)" in connection with the "African Week of Immunization (SAV)”, said a statement from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) received by PANA here Wednesday.

The week, which was launched on Tuesday in Nyabikere on the eastern side of Burundi, was under the theme "Vaccinated Populations; Healthy Populations".

The overall objective of the operation is the implementation of the "reach every child or each community" approach.

The specific objectives of the SSME are the catch-up of all unvaccinated children aged 18 to 23 months at the second dose of combined anti-measles and anti-rubella (RR2) and fourth dose of DTP4 (DTP4) vaccines, and the  administration of Vitamin A to children aged 6-59 months across the country.

The agenda of the week is to provide Albendazole deworming for children aged 1 to 14 and pregnant women (2nd and 3rd trimester) from all over the country and the distribution of toilet soaps.

The week will be further marked by community sensitization sessions on immunization and the prevention of diseases related to poor hygiene through hand washing with soap and water.

The objective for the programme is for UN specialized agency to get communities to seize this opportunity to help improve the health of mothers, children and the most vulnerable groups who have difficulty accessing health care in general.

In Burundi, since 2002, a week of maternal and child health has become a traditional vaccination campaign at least twice a year.

A report from the Burundian Ministry of Health indicates that the second 2018 edition of the SSME achieved 88 percent coverage of the targets set across the country's 46 health districts.

Socio-cultural and religious barriers generally account for the still relatively low rates of vaccination in a country where the risk of infant mortality was estimated at 47 deaths per 1,000 live births, and the risk of child mortality at 33 percent at the end of the third demographic survey in Burundi (EDSB-III, 2016-2017).

The components of infant mortality are 23 percent for neonatal mortality and 24 percent for post-neonatal mortality.

Overall, the risk of infant and child mortality, that is the risk of death before the age of five, is 78 percent in Burundi, according to the same survey.

On the other hand, the results showed that almost all women (99%) who had a live birth in the last five years received prenatal care from a trained provider.


-0-    PANA    FB/IS/KND/RA    26June2019