Saturday, October 2, 2010

Gambia Makes World Record, Received GAVI Award

Banjul, The Gambia (TNBES) The Gambia, in its drive to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2020 and as stipulated in the National Blue Print Vision 2020 (Silicon Valley of Africa) has made a world record having received the World Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) Award.
The award was in recognition of the country’s Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) and as well as the high immunization coverage over the past five years. It also coupled with the fact that The Gambia is the second country in Africa to introduce Pneumococcal Vaccine into its routine immunization programme.
The global award was jointly given to The Gambia by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Funds (UNICEF) as part of countries assessment on health intervention programme and performance given to respective countries, in particular, the level of immunization achieved for the past five years.
The award was presented to The Gambia in November 2009 in Vietnam (Hanoi) during the last GAVI Partner’s Forum Meeting and was received on behalf of the Minister of Health and Social Welfare by the Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Omar Sey.
Speaking to journalist shortly after the presentation of the award on 12th January, 2010 at the Health Ministry in Banjul, the Deputy Permanent Secretary Technical at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Sheikh Omar Touray said the award was given to The Gambia government in recognition of the country’s laudable effort and achievement in the areas of immunization programme.
He said that compared to other countries, The Gambia’s commitment to immunization programme was very significant, despite the challenges encountered. “The Gambia has been ranked by the WHO as one of the best countries in providing immunization to its citizens,” he said.
For her part, Mrs. Yamundow Jallow, the National Programme Manager of EPI said that their main target is to reduce childhood morbidity and mortality by providing vaccines to prevent diseases such as poliomyelitis, measles.
She added that they also targeted diseases like tuberculosis, yellow fever, hepatitis B, PCV-7 and other related diseases.
According to her, since 2004, the EPI has never experienced a situation where a vaccine goes out of stock. “Vaccines for the programme are all ordered through UNICEF to ensure quality stock,” she said. VOL:2 ISSN:26

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