A Change of Guard

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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Kingdom makes gains in vaccination efforts

A government health worker prepares a measles vaccination at a secondary school in Phnom Penh in 2013. Vireak Mai

Kingdom makes gains in vaccination efforts
Mon, 25 April 2016 ppp
Yesenia Amaro

While some countries are grappling to meet vaccination targets, Cambodia saw a major breakthrough with the elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus in 2015, according to information released by the World Health Organization this month.

India and Mauritania also met the milestone, according to the WHO report, which highlighted recent immunisation gains and steps that countries can take to close the immunisation gap.

Cambodia has 11 vaccines as part of its national immunisation program, said Ministry of Health spokesman Ly Sovann. The vaccines help prevent diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis B, polio and measles.

”We still have some gaps in coverage; it’s not 100 per cent, but at least we are at 90 per cent,” he said.

To close the gap, officials are “trying to reach out at the very remote areas”, Sovann said.

“It is important for countries to identify which children are missing out on vaccines and then find ways of reaching them,” said Rob Kelly, a spokesman for the pro-vaccine non-profit GAVI.

“This requires better data, continued strengthening of routine immunisation systems and ongoing high level of commitment.”

From 2001 to 2020, GAVI has committed $83.8 million to support immunisation in Cambodia, Kelly said via email.

Cambodia in 2000 eliminated polio, and more recently, measles, although in January, a measles case cropped up in Kampong Speu. Sovann said officials are remaining vigilant of polio, measles and maternal and neonatal tetanus cases.

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