Turkmenistan celebrates European Immunization Week
Turkmenistan families will be more knowledgeable about the benefits of immunizing children through a media campaign that took place on 20–25 April 2015 to mark the 10th anniversary of European Immunization Week (EIW). This year's theme, closing the immunization gap, aims to refocus public attention on the importance of vaccinating all children.
At a press briefing for media outlets, the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and WHO called on journalists to contribute to the sustained high immunization rates by publishing information to help families make informed choices about vaccination.
In their opening remarks, the Deputy Minister of Health and Medical Industry, Leyli Shamuradova, UNICEF Deputy Representative, Alena Sialchonak, and Head of WHO Country Office in Turkmenistan, Bahtygul Karriyeva, noted that timely vaccination is a cost-effective measure to prevent diseases, which contributes to economic sustainability and the overall health of the population. They highlighted the fact that immunization, as a public health priority, goes beyond the health sector and requires partnership with other stakeholders. In this regard, the media plays a key role in empowering families to vaccinate their children.
Participants of the press briefing learned about the history of EIW and Turkmenistan's achievements in immunization. Journalists were invited to participate in a contest to identify the best story about EIW and the importance of vaccination.
During EIW, Turkmenistan
- conducted supplementary immunization activities to target hard-to-reach children;
- organized open lessons and drawing contests on immunization in all schools;
- distributed communication materials to health houses and families;
- conducted conferences, meetings and a competition for health specialists and students; and
- used national media coverage to promote educational and awareness-raising activities on the importance of immunization, including a helpline to provide advice.