• Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

Vaccination helps improve education and economic development, says Dr Nkeshimana


Jul 22, 2022

BUJUMBURA July 22nd (ABP) – “Vaccination is one of the pillars of the good health of the people, especially when we consider that vaccines are often the best, if not the only way to protect us against a large number of serious infectious diseases throughout our lives”.

These are the words from the head of the monitoring and evaluation service for the expanded vaccination program (EPI), Dr Sandra Bienvenue Nkeshimana who spoke on Tuesday July 20, 2020, in Bujumbura, during an awareness workshop for media professionals on routine immunization activities.

According to her, vaccination allows individual and collective protection, adding that if many children are vaccinated, diseases decrease in the community.

Vaccination is the most effective way to protect a child against diseases that can have more serious consequences than we think, she said.

Vaccines are the best tools ever invented to reduce infant mortality and protect the health of the people, she added.

                                                                                                  View of the participants

She also said that vaccines help promote health because, unlike many other health measures, they help people stay healthy, thereby removing a major obstacle to human development.

Vaccines are broad in scope in that they protect individuals, communities and entire populations.

The impact of most vaccines on communities and populations is almost immediate. For example, she demonstrated, between 2010 and 2018, the measles vaccine alone prevented 23 million deaths. Between 2010 and 2017, the under-5 mortality rate fell by 24%, thanks in large part to vaccination.

That health professional pointed out that in countries that have introduced the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, after 5 to 8 years, the prevalence of HPV causing cervical cancer has been reduced by 83 % in girls aged 13-19, and the prevalence of precancerous lesions decreased by 51% in girls aged 15-19.

According to Dr. Nkeshimana, in addition to their beneficial impact on health, vaccines have long-term effects on the development of an individual. Vaccination not only prevents morbidity and mortality associated with infectious diseases such as diarrhea, measles, pneumonia, poliomyelitis and whooping cough, but it also helps improve education and economic development.

It is estimated, she said, that vaccines will help prevent 24 million people from falling into poverty by 2030.

Compared to the situation prevailing in Burundi, she points out that if we consider the statistics for the year 2021 compared to those of the first half of 2022, the rate of vaccination coverage reaches a satisfactory level because they have already exceeded those of the first half of 2022 by 2021, i.e., 80% of the total number of children who needed the vaccine.

However, she indicated that this progress is not sufficient because it must exceed the 90% threshold. “If we look at this year, it could give the impression that we are evolving well, but I would like to encourage service providers and all stakeholders rather to redouble their efforts so that by the end of 2022 we have coverage that is over 90%,” she said.

Concerning certain groups of people who are recalcitrant in relation to vaccines, in particular the followers of Eusebie Ngendakumana and others who, because of their beliefs, do not accept that their children be vaccinated, Dr Nkeshimana indicated that solutions are already made: “In order to be able to reach all unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated children, we have thought of associating PV managers at the level of the health provinces, health districts and health centers. We went further to the community level through community health workers. We have also thought of involving religious leaders and grassroots administrative officials,” she reassured.

As for the media, they are called upon to give their contributions in that sensitization for the information to reach a large number of people.