Nam celebrates World Immunisation week

By Tracy Tafirenyika

NAMIBIA this week joined the rest of the world in the celebration of World Immunisation week which aims to promote vaccine usage in protecting people of all age groups against vaccine preventable diseases.
According to the Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Kalumbi Shangula immunisation has a global record of saving millions of lives yearly in world history and public health recognised as one of the world’s most successful health intervention to save lives.
“Over the past 200 years vaccines have prevented various childhood illnesses and other diseases such as polio, measles, small pox, tetanus, TB, cervical cancer just to mention a few. Last year, Namibia joined other countries in the world that were declared and certified as having eradicated wild polio, that is a great milestone indeed. This years’ immunisation is celebrated under a theme, ‘Vaccines bring us closer’, which calls for better engagement on immunisation to ensure vaccination importance by virtue of bringing people together and improving health.

“Namibia has demonstrated the true meaning of vaccines bringing us closer by seeing communities from all walks of life coming together and so close to discuss vaccines and immunisation 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. Namibia saw community volunteering, business communities, and political, religious and traditional leaders working together at preventing this devastating pandemic,” he said.
Shangula furthermore said according to World Health Organisation (WHO) there are still approximately 20 million children in the world today who are not accessing the vaccines they require and appreciated the support from partners, who make the introduction of the District Health Information electronic system for tracking vaccination possible.
“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. 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. The DHIS2 Vaccine Tracker becomes fully functional by the beginning of this week with the nationwide roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
“Many miss out on vital vaccines during adolescence, adulthood and carry these deficits into old age. This has been found to have negative implications to their general state of health and the ability to thrive or to recover from diseases compared to immunised children. Namibia recognises the impact diseases have on the country’s economy and people’s livelihood hence it takes routine immunisations as key priority.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic impact the country is keeping a critical eye on essential services, such as immunisation to ensure that they are not interrupted during the pandemic.

The minister also encouraged health workers and communication experts from different sectors to keep the momentum in ensuring correct information continues to be shared for the betterment of health of the people considering myths and misinformation that pose a threat to Covid-19 response.