Timor Leste’s Minister of Health, Odete Maria Freitas Belo, accompanied by other government officials, development partners and local authorities, officially launched the Integrated National Vaccination Campaign de Routina on January 12, 2023, in the village of Tapo Memo, municipality of Bobonaro.
This health campaign, aimed at 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 pneumococcal bacteria, and vaccination against measles, rubella and poliomyelitis. The campaign also includes the distribution of vitamin A supplements, antiparasitic medicines and vaccination against COVID-19 for people over 12 years of age.
The campaign will be carried out simultaneously in all municipalities.
The Minister of Health explained that “this integrated vaccination campaign has as its main objective all children in East Timor under the age of five” and defended “the importance of this campaign to increase immunization and disease prevention.” In addition, Odete affirmed that “this vaccination activity also aims to prevent infant mortality” and stressed that “the Ministry of Health defends universal access to preventive and curative health services, as a declaration of human rights, to promote the improvement of health and the reduction of poverty and inequality, following the strategy of guaranteeing the motto of leaving no one behind”.
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Odete Freitas Belo also recalled that “Timor-Leste, in 2022, only managed to reach an average of 77% complete vaccination rate in children under five years of age. In four municipalities less than 70% complete vaccination was achieved, which means that more than 20% of the children were not vaccinated.”
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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 authorities of the village, the Tapo Memo village community, Ministry of Health staff and development partners, namely the World Health Organization, UNICEF, DFAT and USAID.