Vaccines Work!

Vaccines work

Bishkek, 24 April 2017 - Kyrgyzstan joins the World Immunization Week to raise awareness on importance of the vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Immunization saves millions of lives and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions.

In 2012, Kyrgyzstan has joined the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP), which aims to prevent deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases by 2020 through universal access to immunization.  2017 marks the halfway point. In order for everyone in Kyrgyzstan to survive and thrive, countries must make more concerted efforts to reach GVAP goals by 2020.

“In public health we know that vaccines work and ensure protections against many diseases to allow children to be healthy. As father, I want my children as well others are protected by vaccination from those diseases that we have reliable and safe vaccines,” says Jarno Habicht, WHO Representative in Kyrgyzstan.

Despite improvements in immunization from poliomyelitis and diphtheria, Kyrgyzstan falls behind in disease elimination of measles and rubella due to a complex of reasons, such as lack of information, high level of internal and external migration, and personal beliefs.

In 2014 Kyrgyzstan faced measles outbreak that caused over 12,000 cases and required US$500 000 for the outbreak response and other emergency needs by WHO and UNICEF. Measles is one of the most readily transmitted communicable diseases and among the most deadly of all childhood rash/fever illnesses. However, it can be prevented with safe, effective and inexpensive vaccines.

“Every child has the right to survive and thrive. Vaccines save 2–3 million lives every year. Yet, as many as 19.4 million infants worldwide do not receive all their immunizations and miss out on the essential vaccines they need to survive and live healthy lives. Immunization is one of the most cost-effective ways to protect children’s lives and futures”, said Yukie Mokuo, UNICEF Representative in the Kyrgyz Republic.

The last week of April is devoted to the raising awareness on importance of full immunization throughout the life and its role in achieving the 2030 SDG. Routine immunization is a building block of strong primary health care and universal health coverage. It provides a point of contact for health care at the beginning of life and offers every child the chance at a healthy life from the start.

Immunization is also a fundamental strategy in achieving other health priorities, from controlling viral hepatitis, to curbing antimicrobial resistance, to providing a platform for adolescent health and improving antenatal and newborn care.