OVER the past 200 Years vaccines have prevented various childhood illnesses and other diseases such as polio, measles, small pox, tetanus, tuberculosis, cervical cancer just to mention a few.
The Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Kalumbi Shangula said that Namibia will join the World in the celebration of World Immunization Week which on the African soil remembered as African Vaccination Week. The vaccination week is normally commemorated during the last week of April every year.
Shangula noted that the primary aim of World Immunisation Week is to promote vaccine use in protecting people of all age groups against preventable diseases.
Immunization has a global record of saving millions of lives yearly and in world history and public health recognized as one of the world’s most successful health intervention to save lives.
Last year, Namibia joined other countries in the world that were declared and certified as having eradicated polio.
“This years’ immunization week is celebrated under a theme ‘Vaccines bring us closer’, which calls for better engagement on immunization to ensure vaccination importance by virtue of bringing people together and improving health” Shangula said.
Just as this year’s World Immunization Week theme is saying, Namibia has demonstrated the true meaning of vaccines bringing us closer by seeing communities from all walks of life coming together to discuss vaccines and immunization at length.
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed existing health system gaps and also brought communities together, since everyone from all walks of life was infected, affected or impacted. Namibia saw community volunteering, business communities, and political, religious, and traditional leaders working together at preventing this devastating pandemic.
According to Shangula, the country also witnesses scientists and health workers volunteering to work extra hours, the private health sectors contribution to make vaccination against COVID-19 possible beyond insured members. This is truly commendable.
“As we celebrate this week, we appreciated the support from our partners, who make the introduction of the District Health Information electronic system for tracking vaccination possible, “ he noted.
The DHIS2 Vaccine Tracker has become fully functional at the beginning of this week with the nationwide roll-out of the COVDi-19 vaccination programme.
According to WHO there are still approximately 20 million children in the world today who do not have access to the vaccines they require.