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EPI to focus on increasing vaccination rate, quality

Update: December, 30/2016 - 16:12
A baby gets vaccinated under the EPI in Thanh Hóa Province. — VNS Photo Thanh Hải
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — The National Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) will focus investment on increasing vaccination rate and quality in mountainous, remote and difficult areas in 2017, said National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology Deputy Director Dương Thị Hồng.

“Along with maintaining results achieved by the polio and neonatal tetanus elimination programmes, the institute will strengthen disease supervision for early detection and timely control to prevent outbreaks and epidemics,” Hồng said.

Hồng, who is also the EPI office head, told Việt Nam News that the programme will also boost its activities to increase Hepatitis B vaccination rate of newborns within 24 hours after birth, targeted at controlling the disease in 2017.

“Efforts would be concentrated also on maintaining high immunisation rates of measles and the combined measles and rubella vaccines for children under the annual vaccination programme as part of efforts to eliminate measles in the future,” Hồng said.

She said while polio and neonatal tetanus has been eradicated, it faced many challenges due to the risk of polio invading from neighbouring countries where the disease still exists and weak management of disease supervision at several localities.

The financial source for EPI only meets the country’s demand for vaccines, despite increasing investment from the government and the Ministry of Health. International support from NGOs has been reducing following Việt Nam’s transformation from one of the world’s poorest nations to a middle-income country.

In the coming years, the government of Việt Nam will have to pay corresponding expenses of the five-in-one vaccine and a half of the investment capital of the new freezing facilities to preserve vaccines at the EPI in 2017. Therefore, the people’s committees of provinces and cities will have to bear the capital source of materials supply, facility maintenance, replacement, vaccine transport and health workers’ salaries.

The health ministry’s statistics showed that infection and fatality rates of diseases under EPI continued to reduce in 2016. By the end of October 2016, the vaccination rate of children under one reached 83.4 per cent, meeting the target of above 75 per cent for children under one nationwide. Measles and rubella vaccine rate of 18-month-old children was at 79.1 per cent, while DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) vaccine rate was at 77.9 per cent, higher than the same period in 2015.

In 2016, nearly 1.8 million youngsters aged 17-18 were vaccinated against measles and rubella nationwide, comprising nearly 95 per cent of the targeted group. As a result, only 34 measles cases were reported in 2016, a decline by eight times compared with 2015 and 442 times in comparison with 2014. — VNS



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