Photo of the week: vaccines work

Originally posted on UNICEF Connect - UNICEF BLOG:

© UNICEF/NYHQ2005-0560/Boris Heger

© UNICEF/NYHQ2005-0560/Boris Heger

Are you up to date?

From 24 to 30 April, World Immunisation Week 2014 urges everyone to ask this question for themselves and their children. Immunisation protects against the suffering caused by vaccine-preventable diseases and saves 2–3 million lives each year. But staying up-to-date on inoculations is critical to ensure lasting immunity.

In this week’s Photo of the Week by photographer Boris Heger, several children watch as a male health worker from a mobile vaccination team gives a dose of oral polio vaccine to a baby cradled by his mother, during the door-to-door polio National Immunisation Days in the town of Shire in Tigray Region in Ethiopia.

Christine Nesbitt is UNICEF’s Senior Photography Editor

To see more images from UNICEF visit UNICEF Photography.

You can also see the latest photos on the UNICEF Photo app.

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A lesson in bravery: Nyakhat’s story

Originally posted on UNICEF Connect - UNICEF BLOG:

Three-year-old Nyakhat and her father Pal wait outside the registration site with their two loyal dogs, Tuchal and Nyadet in Pagak, Upper Nile, South Sudan. © UNICEF/Ricardo Pires

Three-year-old Nyakhat and her father Pal wait outside the registration site with their two loyal dogs, Tuchal and Nyadet in Pagak, Upper Nile, South Sudan. © UNICEF/Ricardo Pires

My mission was relatively straightforward: to follow the joint UNICEF and World Food Programme (WFP) Rapid Response team going to Pagak, a small village on the eastern side of South Sudan, near the border with Ethiopia, in Upper Nile state.

The town was one out of 24 priority locations selected to receive life-saving supplies before the onset of the rains, when access to remote areas are expected to deteriorate considerably. At least 200,000 children will benefit from the Rapid Response initiative by June.

Upon our arrival – we were a team of six – the parched landscape, combined with an excruciating heat, gave me the impression we were landing on a different planet. Children were waiting alongside a short, improvised airstrip, eager to…

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Ethiopia commits to meet millennium development goals in water and sanitation by 2015

Istahi Sohane, 28, mother of 4, divides her precious water at her home in Yahas-Jamal Keble in Somali region of Ethiopia

Istahi Sohane, 28, mother of 4, divides her precious water at her home in Yahas-Jamal Keble in Somali region of Ethiopia 11 February 2014. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Ose

Two and a half billion people – over a third of the world’s population- live without adequate sanitation facilities. Nearly 800 million people still do not have access to an improved source of drinking water protected from outside contamination. Sanitation and water for all, a global partnership of over 90 developing country governments, donors, civil society organizations and other development partners, seeks to address these problems.

The 2014 Sanitation and water for all (SWA) High-Level Meeting (HLM) was held on Friday 11 April 2014 at the World Bank in Washington DC. Convened by UNICEF, the meeting was attended by Ministers of Finance from developing countries, accompanied by their ministers responsible for water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as donors, civil society and other development partners. Ethiopia was well represented by Ministers from water, health and education sectors.

2014 SWA HLM

Sanitation and Water for All High Level Ministerial Meeting 2014. Credit: SWA/Kristoffer Tripplaar

The meeting was opened by a very high level panel including sanitation and water for all chair H.E John A. Kufuor, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, president of the world bank, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, executive director, UNICEF Mr. Anthony Lake, and Hon. Sufian Ahmed, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Ethiopia.

The objectives of the meeting were to outline an ambitious and yet achievable vision for the sector, link WASH and sanitation to the economic growth agenda, communicate how finance, ministers can best achieve ‘value for money’ and emphasize the importance of getting investments right including addressing sustainability and inequities.

During this meeting, 44 SWA partner countries made 265 new smart commitments and had 3 main areas:

  • Greater attention to sustainability
  • Strengthening national monitoring systems beyond household surveys to include institutional wash facilities
  • Focus on urban sanitation

The 2014 meeting demonstrated the highest level of global commitment to water and sanitation issues. Ethiopia was highly prominent in the meeting and was the only country to have water, health and education ministers present. This was relevant as the sector is paying emphasis on institutional wash including school, health center and public institutions.

In the only presentation made by a host country during the 2014 HLM, H.E. Sufian Ahmed, Ethiopia Minister of Finance and Economic Development, highlighted how Ethiopia is working to combine resources from development partners to meet the millennium development goals in water and sanitation by 2015. The presentation was well received by Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon and the members of the panel.

2014 SWA SMM

The Sanitation and Water for All Sector Ministers’ Meeting 2014. Credit: SWA/Kristoffer Tripplaar

A day before the HLM, Sector Minister Meeting (SMM) was held on, Thursday 10th April and was facilitated by UNICEF. Ministers from 54 countries and global directors of key development partners attended the meeting. The ministers present and discuss their countries ‘high level commitment statements, which have been prepared in each country’. The SMM meeting enabled ministers to interact informally, agree on a summary of commitments, and with other SWA constituencies.

In its statement of commitments, Ethiopia set a vision of working to improve the health and wellbeing in rural and urban areas by increasing water supply and sanitation access and the adoption of good hygiene practices in equitable and sustainable manner. The country is determined to reach the targets set out in the Universal Access Plan (UAP) by 2015, aiming at 98.5% of the population having access to water, it also aims for all Ethiopians to have access to basic sanitation, thereby eliminating open defecation nationwide, and 77% of the population to wash their hands with soap or ash at critical times.

The meeting also reviewed progress against the 2012 commitments and discussed and confirmed the 2014 and 2016 commitments. All countries made a total of 415 commitments in 2012 of which 40% have noted good progress from sector in ministers. Impressive gains were made in the commitments related to financing and planning. Greater focus is still needed on the commitments related to private sector participation and decentralization. The 2014 commitments for Ethiopia included greater focus on urban sanitation and a need to strengthen the overall monitoring and evaluation system of the wash sector.

UNICEF Ethiopia, Chief of Water and Environmental Sanitation, Samuel Godfrey attended the High Level Meeting in DC and reflects on Ethiopia’s role and what the future holds for Water and Sanitation in Ethiopia.

 

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Butajira’s ideal health facilities give hope to ending maternal and new-born death in Ethiopia

By Wossen Mulatu

Butajira Hospital and Health Center Media Visit ahead of the EU-ESDE project lauch, 2 April 2014

Dr. Ayenachew Abebe, Medical Director of Butajira Hospital gives briefing about the activities of the hospital in maternal and new-born health. Butajira Hospital and Health Centre Media Visit ahead of the EU-ESDE project launch, 2 April 2014 ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Fasil

Butajira, 2 April 2014: Around fifteen journalists from eleven media houses visited Butajira hospital and health center to witness firsthand the facilities for mothers and new-borns there.

The media visit was organized by the Federal Ministry of Health, European Union and UNICEF to show the commendable services provided by Butajira hospital and health centre ahead of the high level launch of the ‘Enhancing Skilled Delivery in Ethiopia’ (ESDE) which was made possible with EU’s generous €40.2 million grant.

New mother Aster Kebede’s face is filled with grace holding her new baby girl already named Etenesh Gobeza. After an hour of delivery, she has immediately started breast-feeding her child sitting comfortably on the hospital bed. It took her a day to come to the hospital from the neighboring Mareko woreda (district) with her mother Fichage Arega. Now, both of them are proudly sitting close to each other admiring the newly born child and grandchild in relief.

“I am highly content with the service provided here at the hospital. The staff were really kind to me and I had a smooth delivery. I am also grateful that such service is offered for free.” said Aster.

In Ethiopia the most critical period of care for maternal and neonatal mortality reduction (skilled birth attendance) has remained stagnant for the past two decades with only 29 per cent of mothers accessing this essential care. In addition, despite the improvements in reducing under 5 mortality rates, neonatal mortality rate has also remained stagnant showing no significant reduction from 39 in the 2005 to 37 in 2011.

Butajira Hospital and Health Centre Media Visit ahead of the EU-ESDE project launch, 2nd April 2014

Aster Kebede, one hour after delivering her baby girl Etenesh Gobeza describes her experience in the hospital to the media. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Fasil

“Both the quality and quantity of services have increased in the hospital due to the commitment and motivation of the hospital management and its staff to prevent any death of mothers and new-borns” said Andualem Mengistu, Manager of the hospital.

According to Andualem, the range of mothers who deliver at the hospital has increased from 10-15 up to 80-90 mothers per week at present. This significant increase is due to the introduction of free service for mothers who deliver at the hospital, increase in the number of midwives on duty programme and early referral system from the Health Center. In addition, the hospital implements Maternal Death Surveillance and Response (MDSR) and uses volunteers from Voluntary Services Organization (VSO) to fill the staffing and skill gap.

“Giving birth should be a time of happiness and celebration for mothers and not a time of sorrow. And newborns are not predestined to die” said Dr. Asheber Gaym, Health Specialist at UNICEF. “We need to make all our efforts to stop the unnecessary death of mothers and new-born in the country by closely working with the Government and partners” he added.

 Ali Abdella, deputy head of the woreda health unit indicates that, their main objective is to create demand so that mothers deliver at a health facility and not at home. The maternal mortality rate in the city used to be 67 deaths per 10,000 in 2010 and now it has gone down to 6 deaths per 10,000 which is a significant achievement.

According to Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS) 2011, Ethiopia has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world estimated at 676 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births far from the MDG target of 267.

“We are now aiming at quality service and HDF (Home Delivery Free) community.” he stresses.

Translation of paragraphs from stories by journalists that took part in the media visit are posted here: [With a link to the Amharic story]

[Ethiopian Reporter] Saving a mothers life

Hospitals can solve Maternal health and newborn deaths when they have the necessary  equipments and sustainable supply. To equip new and old hospitals with the necessary equipments to sustain the supply, the European Union  has donated 40 million Euros through a project implemented by Ministry of Health and UNICEF. All health sectors will benefit from this three year project Read more.

[Ethiopian News Agency] The hospital has played a role in reducing maternal and newborn deaths

“Many newborn and maternal lives were saved because of this hospital” says Fetiya “The service is for free, so all mothers should come to the hospital and save the life of their children and themselves” Fetiya conveys her message. Read more

[DW- Amharic] Butajira hospital to benefit from new 40 million Euro EU funded project 

UNICEF and Ethiopian Ministry of Health will work together to achieve MDG5, reduce maternal and newborn deaths , by implementing a new 40 million euro project donated by the European Union. Read more

 

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MEDIA ADVISORY: High Level Launch of the “Enhancing Skilled Delivery in Ethiopia (ESDE)” project

High Level Launch of the “Enhancing Skilled Delivery in Ethiopia (ESDE)” project

WHAT: High Level Launch of the “Enhancing Skilled Delivery in Ethiopia (ESDE)” project with a €40.2 million grant by the European Union (EU) to Federal Ministry of Health and UNICEF to improve maternal and new-born health.

WHO: Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu, Minister, Federal Minister of Health

Ambassador Chantal Hebberecht, Head of European Union Delegation,

Dr. Peter Salama, UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia

WHEN: WEDNESDAY 16 APRIL, from 09:00am- 1:00pm

 WHERE: Radisson Blu Hotel, Addis Ababa

WHY: Ethiopia has made remarkable progress in promoting primary health care service facilities through the Health Extension Programme which led to the reduction of major public health challenges including tuberculosis, malaria and child mortality.  This in turn has contributed greatly to the achievement of MDG 4 of reducing child mortality three years ahead of the 2015 deadline. MDG 6 of halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, Malaria and TB are also well on track.

Despite this improved trends, MDG 5 – Improvement of maternal health – remains the only MDG goal that is not on track as we approach 2015 and now it the time to put it on the spotlight.

For interviews or additional information, please contact:

Ahmed Emano, Director, Public Relation and Communication Directorate, Federal Ministry of Health, Tel: +251 115 518031, Mobile: +251 911 388946, email:ahmed_emano[@]yahoo.com

Solomon Kebede, Press and Information Officer, European Union,

Tel.: +251 11 66 12 511, Mobile: +251 911 68 41 01, email: solomon.kebede[@]eeas.europa.eu

Wossen Mulatu, Communication Officer, UNICEF Ethiopia,

Tel.: +251 115 184028, Mobile: +251 911 308483, email: wmulatu[@]unicef.org

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UNICEF Ethiopia Supports South Sudanese Children with Vaccination Services

By Demissew Bizuwerk

Nyabiel Chamjock and her nine moth old daughter in Tergol.

Nyabiel Chamjock holds her nine months old daughter closer after the little child gets vaccinated. Nyabiel is one of the thousands asylum seekers, who crossed into Tergol town of Akobo Woreda, the Gambella region of Ethiopia that borders with South Sudan. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Bizuwerk

TERGOL, AKOBO WOREDA (GAMBELLA REGION)- Nyabiel Chamjock, a 20-year-old South Sudanese refugee, waits in line at the vaccination post with her nine-month-old daughter in her arms. She joins a long queue of other mothers with young children who are also waiting at the post to receive vaccinations. The growing queue is evidence of an effective community mobilisation campaign carried out in the last few days. In addition to the vaccination post where Nyabiel is waiting, three more posts have been made operational to cope with demand from the rising influx of South Sudan refugees. To ensure that vaccination posts are adequately stocked with supplies – two UNICEF boats regularly deliver vaccines. Nyabiel is one of the thousands of refugees who crossed into Tergol town in January in the Gambella Region of Ethiopia bordering South Sudan. Sadly, Nyabiel lost her husband during the tribal conflict between the Murle and the Lue Nuer tribes more than a year ago. She has recently had to face more tragedy. The eruption of violence in South Sudan, in December 2013, forced Nyabiel to flee into Ethiopia in search of safe refuge. After trekking most of the day on foot, clutching her child and a few selected belongings, she managed to cross the border.

Mass Vaccination Campaign for Refugees and Host Community
After waiting 30 minutes in the queue, Nyabiel’s daughter finally receives her required vaccines. She receives an injection against measles and drops to prevent her from contracting polio; she also receives vitamin A supplementation. In addition, her mid-upper arm circumference is measured to check her nutrition status. The chubby little infant looks surprisingly healthy despite the difficult conditions that her family is facing. Before Nyabiel leaves the vaccination post she is given a card confirming her daughter’s immunisation. She is also reminded that it is important to keep the card safe for future reference.

Nyabiel understands the importance of vaccinations for her child. “I know that my child will be protected from diseases after taking the vaccines. It is difficult in this area to keep a child healthy. As it gets dry and hot, children easily fall sick,” she said.

A four years old boy from South Sudan receiving a Polio vaccination in Tergol town   A child getting a Vitamin A supplementation in Tergol town.

UNICEF supports the provision of vaccination and nutrition supplements to children affected by the conflict in South Sudan
 

The mass vaccination campaign administered to South Sudanese refugees and members of the host community in Tergol, the capital of Akobo Woreda, is supported by UNICEF in coordination with the Regional Health Bureau. The campaign started at the beginning of January 2014 and more than 95 per cent of children have been targeted for immunisation.

UNICEF has prepositioned emergency vaccine supplies in the Gambella Region to ensure a timely response to the acute emergency needs of those fleeing from the violence in South Sudan and also to the vulnerable members of the host community. The mass vaccination campaign is crucial in preventing outbreaks like measles and polio. In the context of population movement across borders – especially in emergency situations – disease outbreaks can easily occur and prevention measures need to be in place to protect vulnerable mothers and children.

“This vaccination campaign is very important for the health of children both from the host community and refugees,” says Getachew Haile, UNICEF health emergency officer.  “It protects the children from contagious viral diseases such as measles and polio,” he adds.

In addition to the provision for vaccines against measles and polio, vitamin A supplementation is also given to children aged between six months and five years. Since the Gambella Region is prone to malaria, a distribution of mosquito nets has also helped to reduce the incidence of malaria morbidity and mortality.

Coordination Work
The emergency response to South Sudan refugees in Tergol is being coordinated by the Government’s Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) and UNHCR. UNICEF supports the health activities of ARRA and UNHCR in partnership with the Regional Health Bureau. Adequate planning and functional systems have been put in place to manage human resource and logistic arrangements. In addition, health workers from Gambella town and adjacent areas such as Gniengnang, Wantowa and Tergol have received a one-day orientation.

With the support of the local administration, vaccination posts have been set up in locations that are accessible to the host community and refugees. Community mobilisation work has been an integral part of the vaccination campaign to ensure that community members and refugees are aware of the campaign programme and its importance to the health of mothers and children.

Head of the Akobo Woreda health office, Samuel Yien, acknowledges the impact of UNICEF’s support. He says that the emergency vaccination campaign is going well and that the activities are monitored closely. “We are grateful for the support we received from UNICEF. We are coordinating activities together and so far the campaign is good,” he added.

The Akobo Woreda (district) is the most inaccessible area in the Gambella Region. To reach the woreda capital of Tergol, one has to take an eight-hour boat ride from Buribe town- the last town accessible by vehicle. Accessibility problems make the role of UNICEF boats essential in delivering vaccines and other supplies to the vaccination posts.

Children are the most affected by the ongoing conflict in South Sudan. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Bizuwerk

Thousands of civilians, mainly women and children, have been affected by the violence that broke out in South Sudan in mid-December 2013. At the beginning of April 2014, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) estimated that more than 88,000 refugees crossed over the Ethiopian border through six entry points including Tergol, since the conflict began. These people are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, including food, water and health services. Mothers and their babies are visibly weak after enduring the long trek to Tergol, while some of the children are malnourished. As the influx of refugees increases and puts food supplies under strain, the nutritional status of newly arrived children deteriorates.

Although some of the refugees in Tergol are being accommodated by the host community, there are still many more staying in makeshift shelters close to the Akobo River.

Nyabiel constructed her small makeshift shelter from sticks and rags to offer some protection from the piercing sun. Her new rickety home is shared with her child, her grandmother and a few scattered bags containing her belongings. She hopes better times await her child. She is keen to keep her daughter healthy and despite the challenges she faces – she is determined to send her to school because “an education will help bring her a better future,” she adds.

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Invitation: Get-together Media and UNICEF

The Media and External Relations section of UNICEF Ethiopia had very much enjoyed its first get together last January with the media. We would like to build on the momentum and keep on engaging with the media society to discuss current issues affecting children and women of Ethiopia. Therefore, we would like to invite you to the upcoming get together at the Kabana Restaurant on Monday 14 April 2014 at 3:00pm.

On the hot plate is what the media can contribute to end child marriage in Ethiopia.

RSVP to +251 935 98 62 55

fyilma[at]unicef.org

If you want to know more about UNICEF please visit our website www.unicef.org/ethiopia

Here is a blog about the first get-together 

Directions to Kabana Restaurant:  10th floor Enat Tower (in front of Yordanos Hotel on Kasanchis –Bambis road)

See you!

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