Ensuring that all children are immunized through routine and outreach vaccination activities

At the Xiengkhuang Provincial Hospital, the WHO team met Ms Song Lao, a 30 year-old Hmong mother who is in the hospital for a follow-up on the third dose of Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis-Hep B-Hib vaccine (Penta-3) for her 6-month-old son, Ai Lee as she said she does not want her baby to get sick.

Ms Song Lao seen here with 6 month old Ai Lee
Photo credit: Yoshi Shimizu/WHO/2015

Hmong communities remains vulnerable for vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks due to low vaccination coverage, as seen in recent measles and diphtheria outbreaks in Huaphanh, Bolikhamxay and Vientiane provinces. Completion of all scheduled doses of routine vaccines is essential for protection of infants from these vaccine preventable diseases.

In 2014, an estimated 18.7 million infants worldwide were not reached with routine immunization services such as DTP3 vaccine, which can protect them against infectious diseases that can cause serious illness or disability that can become fatal.

In Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the percentage of children receiving all three doses of pentavalent vaccine increased from 50% in 2007 to 87% in 2013.

Health worker handling over the vaccination card for baby Ai Lee

Routine vaccination activities in Lao PDR are available at hospitals, health centres and also through outreach sessions wherein health care workers reach out to communities living in remote hard-to-reach areas. The vaccination outreach services are supported by the Korea Foundation for International Healthcare (KOFIH) in Xiengkhuang and Huaphan provinces.

Health centre staff from Phukut Village on outreach activities
Health workers Ms Siphan (middle) and Ms Vanpheng (right) getting ready for routine vaccination activities for children in Phukut Village

WHO will continue to provide technical support to strengthen the routine immunization activities in the country with focus to sub-district service delivery strengthening and ensure equity in service delivery to all communities in the country; including strengthening surveillance and monitoring activities for all vaccine-preventable diseases.