Ministry of Health launches National Integrated Immunization Campaign

Thu. 12 of January of 2023, 21:10h

The Minister of Health, Odete Maria Freitas Belo, accompanied by other government officials, development partners and local authorities, officially launched the National Integrated Routine Immunization Campaign on January 12th, 2023, in the village of Tapo Memo, Bobonaro municipality.

This health campaign, targeting children under five years of age, includes pneumococcal vaccination (PCV), to protect babies and children against serious diseases such as pneumonia and meningitis caused by pneumococcus bacteria, and vaccination against measles, rubella and polio. The campaign also includes the distribution of vitamin A supplements, anti-worm medicines, and vaccination against COVID-19 for people over 12 years.

The campaign will be held simultaneously in all municipalities.

The Minister of Health explained that “this integrated vaccination campaign has as its main focus all children in Timor-Leste under five years of age” and advocated “the importance of this campaign to increase immunization and disease prevention”. The Minister also stated that “this vaccination activity also aims at preventing child mortality” and highlighted that “the Ministry of Health champions universal access to preventive and curative health services, as a statement of human rights, to promote health improvement, and of poverty and inequity reduction, following the strategy of ensuring the motto of leaving no one behind”.

Odete Freitas Belo also recalled that “Timor-Leste, in 2022, only managed to achieve an average of 77% of complete vaccination rate in children under five years. In four municipalities less than 70% of complete vaccination was reached, this means that at least more than 20% of the children were not vaccinated.”

The launch of the campaign was attended by the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Social Communication, Francisco Jerónimo, the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Armindo Maia, the Vice-Minister of State Administration, Lino Torrezão, the Municipal Authority, the village authorities, the Tapo Memo village community, staff from the Ministry of Health and development partners, namely the World Health Organization, UNICEF, DFAT and USAID.