Marking European immunization week 2017 in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
As part of the activities marking European Immunization Week 2017, WHO in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia organized three capacity-building workshops. Held on 10, 12 and 19 of April 2017, the workshops were organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders and institutions working with immunization and vaccination. The celebration of European Immunization Week in the country was dedicated to increasing awareness and commitment to close the remaining gaps in immunization and prevent future outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.
More than 160 participants attended the workshops, including medical doctors working in immunization departments in health centres countrywide, specialists in epidemiology from the National Public Health Institute and regional public health centres who are responsible for immunization, and representatives of the Ministry of Health and the State Sanitary Health Inspectorate.
The workshops included presentations about national vaccine quality control, vaccination coverage, the truth and myths about vaccines, the latest news in the area of immunization, and changes in the immunization calendar, as well as discussion about the planned activities for European Immunization Week (24–30 April).
Participants discussed the key challenges and actions related to:
- the need to raise awareness of the importance of vaccination and to counter anti-vaccination campaigns;
- the need to increase vaccination coverage at the national level, with specific emphasis on the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine;
- the need to improve the process of continuous education for immunization teams countrywide;
- the importance of the exchange of data at national level to assess the vaccination status of the population.
In addition to the workshops, the Ministry of Health, with WHO support, organized an event at Skopje Zoo, with local celebrities and children from elementary schools performing. Posters, brochures and information flyers promoting European Immunization Week and the benefits of immunization were distributed throughout the country. Local television stations also promoted the Week.