Samoa and the rest of the world is commemorating the World Immunization Week which officially opened on 24th April 2020.
The Ministry of Health is co-ordinating a week long program that will run until the 30th April.
The Honorable Minister of Health launched the campaign in a panel discussion during the Health of the Nation Program, in light of the State of Emergency restrictions Samoa is currently observing.
In her statement, the Honourable Minister acknowledged that globally, immunization has been proven to be one of the most cost-effective health interventions in saving millions of lives every year.
She added that the World Health Organization declared in 1980, the eradication of smallpox disease is a result of continuous vaccinations and this made it the world’s first eradicated disease.
“The theme for this year’s global commemoration is ‘Vaccines Work for all’ and it focuses on how vaccines – and the people who develop, deliver and receive them – are all heroes by working to protect the health of everyone, everywhere” says the Honourable Minister.
As part of the campaign, a number of activities aimed to raise awareness of the general public on the significance of immunization and to encourage parents to vaccinate their children to protect them from certain diseases.
There are activities like the #faituipuipui TikTok competition that is currently promoted and conducted on social media and the Child Health & Immunization Book Cover Design competition that is attracting local graphic designers and artists to participate.
There is also a special program for all the District Hospitals and Health Centres whereby Nurses will be providing brief educational programs around the significance of ‘routine immunization’ for the children. The small parent group awareness session is to remind parents on the importance of keeping the Child Health & Immunization Book as it captures all the health information and updated information of the child. This initiative will also see the Ministry giving some incentives for the parents and children that will be utilizing the Immunization Week campaign to turn up to be vaccinated as well as some draws to reward parents that are keeping up with the routine immunization for their children especially from since birth up to 15months old.
Throughout the whole week, there will be radio and TV programs featuring the Nurses responsible for delivering the immunization program, whom will advocate the importance of the vaccinations.
The Ministry of Health is adamant that whilst covid-19 is being the threat around the world at the moment, we must also be reminded that immunization can save our children and will certainly prevent cases like the unfortunate Measles outbreak we all suffered as a nation in 2019.
“During the measles outbreak in 2019, Samoa’s successful response with its country-wide vaccination was a proven demonstration of the importance of the use of vaccines and achieving herd immunity to combat and alleviate such outbreaks”, the Minister said.
Immunization services in Samoa are provided as usual at all the thirteen hospitals including the district hospitals and health centre from Monday – Friday 9am – 4pm. There are also outreach teams of nurses that are going out to the community daily to administer vaccinations for children. With the SOE in place, these outreach are now house to house.
The Immunization Week campaign is running until the 30th April and more updates are available on Public Health MOH facebook page. For more information, please contact the Ministry of Health on 66506 and 66507.