Govt concerned over drop in demand, utilization of childhood immunization over two years


The Zambian government has expressed worry over a significant decline in the demand and utilisation of routine childhood immunizations nationwide over the past two years, attributing factors such as COVID-19, cholera outbreaks and drought.

Health Minister, Sylvia Masebo, reported that the gap in immunization coverage has heightened the risk of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases such as polio and measles.

She made these remarks during the launch of the 2024 first round of Child Health Week in Lusaka on Monday.

Read More: WHO report claims vaccines saved about 51.2 million African lives over past 50 years.

“To prevent these threats, the country needs a stable environment where children can thrive and achieve their natural potential,” Minister Masebo said.

She said: “This includes access to quality healthcare, nutrition, protection from environmental threats and opportunities for learning and growth.”

The Minister outlined government initiatives aimed at enhancing children’s health, including universal childhood immunization to ensure all children aged zero to five receive necessary vaccines.

However, Masebo highlighted that the government had only achieved 70 percent of its targeted vaccination rate of 80 percent for children nationwide.

She urged community leaders to play an active role in mobilizing the public to ensure children are taken for vaccinations, underscoring the importance of community engagement in improving healthcare outcomes.

As efforts continue to address the decline in immunization rates, stakeholders stressed the critical role of public awareness and healthcare access in safeguarding children’s health amidst ongoing challenges.

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