Strategic Humanitarian Services (SHUMAS), United Nations Children Emergency Fund, UNICEF, and the Ministry of Public Health, MINSANTE have synergized to scale up routine vaccination coverage in five health districts in the North West region. Routine vaccination coverage in the region has been on the decline since 2012, dropping from 81% in 2012 through 77% in 2014 and then 70% in 2015.
A project that dubbed “Identification and vaccination of children lost to follow up and zero dose in 5 Health Districts in the North West Region” was launched at the SUMAS head office on June 15, 2017. These Health Districts include, Bafut, Bali, Batibo, Benakuma and Mbengwi.
In attendance were all stake holders comprising of SHUMAS, MINSANTE, District Medical Officers, Community Based organizations, and Focal point of communication for MINSANTE and UNICEF likewise leaders of women groups.
The project falls under the SHUMAS Health Program whose goal is to contribute towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal number 2 which is “to ensure health and promote wellbeing for all at all ages” by improving on the health status of those living in peasant communities and enhancing their access to health services.
Speaking during the occasion, the Director General of SHUMAS, Ndzerem Stephen Njodzeka said the main objective of the project is to improve the rate of vaccination coverage in the identified health districts to at least 90 %.
“To achieve this objective, the project intends to build the capacity of 150 women group leaders and 15 key community development/health actors on inter personal communication, vaccination calendar, strategies to identify children lost to follow up and identify these cases and ensure that they are vaccinated thus improving routine vaccination coverage” he revealed.
Ndzerem Stephen added that the project also intends to motivate 5 women groups that identify and vaccinate the highest number of children lost to follow-up and zero dose, by providing micro credits and incorporating them in the SHUMAS micro credit scheme.
On her part, the North West Regional Delegate of Public Health Dr Matilda lauded the partnership between SHUMAS and the Ministry of Public Health noting that it is through SHUMAS’ “fruits” that UNICEF found them worthy to implement the project. She was optimistic that target of identifying and vaccinating at least 90% of children lost to follow up and zero doze identified will be made.
SHUMAS has been in partnership with UNICEF since 2016 implementing a similar project in 5 health districts in the West region where more than 2000 children lost to follow up and zero doze were identified and about 1500 of them have started receiving their vaccines.
They have also been actively involved in supplementary vaccination campaigns in the North West Region for the past 5 years and one routine vaccination for the past 1 year.
SHUMAS has a special consultative role with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and is a member of the NGO committee on Social Development in the United Nations ECOSOC.