Ethiopia: WHO for Efforts to Address Children’s Vaccination

WHO data showed an estimated 194,246 zero-dose children were identified from Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) communities across five regions of Ethiopia that are Amhara, Tigray, Somali, Oromia, and Afar.

On Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) called for concerted efforts to augment the momentum in addressing gaps in children’s vaccination in Ethiopia.

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Although the East African country is making efforts to reduce the immunity gap, there is still a high number of children who have not received any vaccines or are under-vaccinated in the community, said the WHO in a statement issued Monday.

WHO data showed an estimated 194,246 zero-dose children were identified from Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) communities across five regions of Ethiopia that are Amhara, Tigray, Somali, Oromia, and Afar.

It called for more efforts and increasing attention to reach zero-dose children, commonly referring to children who fail to receive any routine vaccination, and under-vaccinated children.

Critical health needs in #Ethiopia demand urgent action.

16.4 million people require health assistance, yet the health cluster has only received 7% of the US$187 million needed.

WHO and partners are pivotal in reducing disease outbreaks like cholera, dengue, and addressing… pic.twitter.com/N09A6SeQCf

— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) June 28, 2024

Owen Laws Kaluwa, WHO country representative to Ethiopia, said the WHO will use different opportunities and continue to support Ethiopia to clear the backlogs of zero-dose and under-vaccinated children. He said as part of its commitments, the WHO has used the 2024 African Vaccination Week, which takes place annually in the last week of April, as an opportunity to support the IDPs vaccination in five regions with a motto “attention to zero-dose and under-vaccinated children.”

The WHO said catch-up activities to the continental vaccination week were recently held to mobilize missed communities, identify zero-dose and under-vaccinated children in the IDPs setting, and vaccinate them with appropriate antigen.

According to the WHO, challenges associated with conflicts on the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly hampered routine immunization programs, leading to an increase in the community immunity gap and outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.