Covid-19 slightly disrupted children vaccination programme

A baby gets a vaccine

Director of the Vaccination Programme at Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), Hassan Sibomana says that in 2020 children vaccination programme was slightly disrupted by lockdown when government established measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

He explains that lockdown prevented mothers from taking their children for vaccination.

However, he says that the vaccination activities are normalizing considering that children are now being vaccinated.

He adds that adolescent girl’s didn’t get vaccine against cervical cancer on time due to lockdown measures.

“Attending Programe to vaccinate children and adolescents has become a habit. But when Covid-19 pandemic broke out in 2020 it was disrupted because of measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 that triggered lockdown. Because lockdown

Some parents didn’t manage to take their children for vaccination. Even Vaccination against cervical cancer for adolescents was not delivered on time as planned,” he says.

Sibomana confirms that in general the vaccination programme is stable in the country since there is high satisfactory attendance by parents who bring their children for vaccination.

He says no children missed the vaccination in previous years except during Covid-19 lockdown last year.

According to statistics, the official says that attendances of children vaccinated against measles are at 91 percent countrywide.

The attendances of those who get vaccine at nine months are at 94 percent and that of 15 months is at 91.3 percent across the country.

He says that high attendance was thanks to enough mobilization by community health workers among children’s parents.

He emphasizes that vaccinating children against different diseases such as diarrhea and pneumonia has drastically reduced such disease cases in Rwanda.

Sibomana says that health posts in villages are facilitating parents to access vaccination services.

The decentralization, he says, has eased access to vaccination services in villages that are far from health centers and those with many children.

He adds that this has led vaccination program to bear fruits countrywide adding that this ensures all mothers easily take their children for vaccination.

The head of Gitarama health centre in Muhanga district   Marie Goretti Dusabeyezu says that they are no longer facing issues of parents who miss children vaccination.

She demonstrated that vaccination for children has performed at 150 percent, because of mobilization and service decentralization.

“Children vaccination programme is no longer facing challenges in our area because parents have been mobilized and educated on the benefits of vaccination for children’s health. We also bring the service closer to those living far from the health centre so that children are easily vaccinated. This approach ensures no child can miss the opportunity,” she said.

Parents also testify that taking their children for vaccination has become their habit after realising the benefits.

Dative Nyiraneza a resident of Kimisagara sector in Kigali city has a child vaccinated at Kimisagara health centre.

She said that she can’t skip vaccination date as she understands the benefits to her child’s health.

“When the child has received all vaccines, they do not become sickly. Even when they get sick they are not easiky weakened by such diseases compared to those who were not vaccinated,” she explained.

Collette Mukanziza is a mother from Shyogwe sector in Muhanga district.

She said that her children are vaccinated at Gitarama health centre.

She commends government efforts for vaccination program that has also been decentralised.

“Government has supported us in different ways so that our health and children’s health improves because vaccines are closer to us. In addition to different vaccines, we managed to also access diarrhea and pneumonia vaccines that used to affect many children,” she said adding that such as diseases are being eliminated following vaccination against them.

In Rwanda children vaccnation programme has become stable and with satisfactory attendance.

Sangiza abandi iyi nkuru

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