Strengthening access to child health care through immunization

Mardochée with her son being vaccinated

Vaccination remains vital for the health of infants, young children and mothers. UNICEF, with support from donors, in support of the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP), supports immunization activities across the country. Thanks to a donation from Japan, UNICEF is strengthening routine immunization activities in public hospitals and health centers to keep children healthy.

Croix-des-Bouquets, October 1, 2018 – This is the usual affluence in the health center of Croix-des-Bouquets. Dozens of women with their children wait patiently for their turn in the service that concerns them. It is still early, but doctors and nurses are already at their posts in the services. Things are starting to come alive.

Some equipment of the Cold chain

The room for vaccination is a little cramped, about thirty mothers are struggling with their children. Mardochée B., aged 20 and mother of two boys, is one of them. She came to vaccinate the youngest of them, Steve, barely a year old. The boy is already very robust for his age, and his mother has all the trouble in the world to contain his movements. Vaccination stations are staffed by nurses, auxiliaries and community-based general health workers (CHWs).

“The health worker told me that the vaccination will protect my child from diseases, so I took him. This will keep him healthy. My eldest son has already received all the vaccines, “she says. Mardochée is also sensitized on hygiene, nutrition and other practices to protect the child’s health against bad practices. The health center raises awareness on these issues.

Families who attend the Health Center are very vulnerable as Mardochée, she does not work. The vaccination service within the center is free because it is subsidized. When the vaccine is available, they come with their children. Some children also receive vitamin A supplementation.

Deal with the demand

Mothers waiting for their turn

People come from every corner of the commune of Croix-des-Bouquets, one of the largest in terms of area, to benefit from free health care, including vaccination. By day, there are between 40 to 50 women who come to be vaccinated and their children. Vaccination is from Monday to Friday, children from 0 to 11 months and from 12 to 59 months are vaccinated. The vaccines offered are: pentavalent (DTP-hib-HEB), polio, BCG, measles vaccine.

Dr. Faubert Aurelus, head of the health center, details the services offered to the population: pediatric consultation, prenatal consultation, family planning, general consultation, among others.

The hospital received, as part of Japan’s funding, a solar refrigerator for the storage of vaccines and other cold chain equipment. For the manager, it will help to better preserve vaccines because the energy problem will no longer be. “This is an important step, because with the former, there are variations in temperature that may deteriorate the quality of vaccines,” he says.

Reaching children in localities

Health workers assigned to the health center promote vaccination in the communities and carry out community vaccination posts in the most remote localities. Altidor Grevi, is one of them, he works in four localities of the commune of Croix-des-Bouquets. Sometimes he must walk for hours to reach these communities.

“I am doing gathering work with people in the communities and I am vaccinating. I’m weighing children also. Thanks to vaccination, measles has virtually disappeared in the localities where I work, “he explains.

Strengthening routine immunization

This routine immunization program, funded by the Japanese people, covers all ten departments, with a focus on the 70 very difficult to access communes. The RED approach (Reach every district)is the adopted reinforcement strategy. This project is in line with SDG 3, which aims to ensure a healthy life and promote the well-being of all at all ages.

“The main objective is the reduction of childhood morbidity and mortality due to vaccine-preventable diseases. We also want to increase vaccination coverage against measles and rubella from

Routine vaccination

51.9% to 90% with coverage of at least 80% at the communal level. Thanks to this generous donation from Japan, many more children will have access to routine immunization, “said UNICEF Representative in Haiti Maria Luisa Fornara.

This post is also available in: French