Capital city of The news article is about the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).- (African Boulevard News) – The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has made strides in improving immunization coverage, a critical step towards ensuring children across the country can live long, healthy lives. According to the Congolese Health ministry’s 2022 figures, the DRC was home to one of the largest numbers of children on the continent who had never received vaccines or not received all doses for jabs that protect them against diseases, including diphtheria, tetanus, and haemophilus B. However, recent efforts aimed at increasing awareness on the need for vaccinations, including the African Vaccination Week, have led to an improvement in the country’s immunization coverage.
Challenges in Remote Areas
Despite progress, immunization coverage remains low, primarily in remote areas. In 2020, the DRC and Ethiopia had the largest number of zero-dose children in remote rural areas, according to the GAVI vaccine alliance. For example, Birhende, a small island in the South Kivu province, home to some 6,000 households, lacks a health center. Vaccination teams must embark on perilous journeys to reach remote islets such as Birhende or the Idjwi island. Some service providers have died in their efforts to reach these areas.
Shukuru Kashonde, a resident of Birhende, has seven children, none of whom have ever been vaccinated. Kashonde has seen five children die due to lack of vaccination. Her eldest son died from measles. Kashonde’s story highlights the challenges faced by families living in areas without easy access to health centers.
Efforts to Improve Immunization Coverage
Efforts are underway to improve immunization coverage in the DRC. The Mashako 2.0 plan is among the initiatives aimed at increasing the number of children receiving vaccines. The plan involves increasing the number of vaccination centers and improving the quality of vaccines used. In addition, there are efforts to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of vaccinations, especially in remote areas.
During the African Vaccination Week, health professionals across the DRC have been raising awareness about the importance of vaccines. The week-long event provides an opportunity for health professionals to educate communities, dispel myths, and encourage families to get vaccinated.
Importance of Vaccinations
Vaccinations are critical in preventing diseases and protecting the health and wellbeing of children. When children are vaccinated, they are protected from diseases that could cause severe illnesses, disability, or even death. Moreover, vaccinations protect communities from outbreaks of diseases that could quickly spread and cause significant harm.
Parents must ensure they take their children for routine vaccinations. Vaccinations are available for free in many health centers across the DRC. Parents should also educate themselves and their communities about the importance of vaccinations and work with health professionals to ensure their children receive all the necessary vaccines.
The DRC’s efforts to improve immunization coverage are commendable. However, much work remains to be done, especially in remote areas. Health professionals must continue to raise awareness about the importance of vaccinations and work to dispel myths and misconceptions. With more efforts, the DRC can ensure that all children are vaccinated, protected, and live long, healthy lives.