"For the first time, with support from the GAVI Alliance, a pentavalent vaccine was introduced [in Myanmar this week] that will defend children against five potentially fatal diseases," Dagfinn Hoybraten, vice president of the Norwegian Parliament and chair of the GAVI Alliance Board, writes in the Huffington Post's "Impact" blog, adding, "Over the next six months, more than half a million children in [the country] will be protected from diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis B (hepB), and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)." He continues, "Along with the pentavalent vaccine, Myanmar also rolled out the measles second dose vaccine as part of the routine immunization schedule," and "[t]he country plans to reach 1.1 million children over the next year, giving them protection against a virus that kills hundreds of people a day."
"Introducing the pentavalent and measles second dose vaccines simultaneously will help GAVI and our alliance partners to immunize nearly an additional quarter-billion children by 2015," but "providing the vaccines themselves is only part of the story," Hoybraten adds. "Countries must have strong health systems -- including well-trained health workers and proper storage facilities -- in order to get the vaccines to people who need them most," he adds, noting, "A grant to aid the vaccine introductions in Myanmar funds upgrades to the cold chain system that's vital for keeping the vaccines at the correct temperature so they remain effective." He states, "As officials in Myanmar know, there's no room for error in this part of the process," and concludes, "Myanmar has shown that even nations facing significant challenges can build a more secure and stable future by investing in vaccines and immunization" (11/27).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.