310,000 children will be vaccinated against common childhood illnesses as UNICEF air charter flies vaccines into Eritrea.
On 29 April, a Boeing 727 cargo plane landed at Asmara International Airport to deliver 1.3 million doses of different life-saving vaccines for the children of Eritrea.
The vaccines, namely MR, bOPV, Penta, Rota, PCV, BCG, IPV and Td, are for the prevention of measles, rubella, polio, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis-B, heamophilus influenza, rotavirus diarrhoea, tuberculosis, and neonatal tetanus respectively.
These vaccines were flown into Eritrea, amidst the logistic challenges during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure that the MoH has enough supplies of vaccines to provide continuous coverage of life-saving immunisation services to children for the next six months. UNICEF made similar vaccine charters in April and December 2020 to ensure continuity of critical services for children during the pandemic.
UNICEF Representative, Shaheen Nilofer and the EPI Manager Tedros Yehdego from the Ministry of Health were at Asmara airport to receive the air charter, along with UNICEF team.
Due to the concerted effort of the Ministry of Health and the partners (UNICEF, WHO and GAVI), Eritrea’s immunization programme has achieved more than 95 per cent routine immunisation coverage consistently, for the past five years.
UNICEF is a key partner of the Ministry of Health and supports the Government of Eritrea in its concerted efforts to provide essential health services for all its citizens, particularly children and women.
“I am very happy to be a part of these life-saving missions and I feel proud to have dedicated my life to support humanitarian work in Africa,” said Captain George Njama, the pilot who flew the DC-9 aircraft with the 7,3000 kgs of vaccines and essential medicines into Eritrea.
Since 2014, UNICEF has been providing air charters to ensure timely delivery of vaccines to support Eritrea sustain its high rates of immunization coverage and to ensure that no child is left behind.