Chris Wang, Champion of Rotary 100 Year Celebration Project presented the following update at a recent Rotary Melbourne meeting:
"Rotary Give Every Child A Future Centenary Project is to immunise 100,000 children and adolescent girls in 9 Pacific Island Countries. The countries are Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
The World Health Organisation has recommended that Rotavirus vaccine (Diarrhoea) and PCV vaccine (pneumonia) be included in all national infant immunization programs. Pacific Island nations have also been identified as having very high Cervical Cancer rates and this will be the third vaccine of the project.
The 3 vaccines are:
- Rotavirus - against Diarrhoea
- PCV - against Pneumonia)
- HPV - against Cervical Cancer
Our implementing partner is UNICEF who have had many years experience in the Pacific. The overall cost of the project is approx. USD $3.9 million.
UNICEF sees it essential that Rotarians from Australia and New Zealand take part in Social Mobilisation programmes. It is critical that there is local acceptance for the introduction of the new vaccines. The communities need to be assured that the vaccines are safe and effective which makes a social mobilisation program very important. UNICEF sees that social mobilisation is where Rotary is essential.
Social Mobilisation activities will require the participation of certain skilled Rotarians who will be responsible to train local Pacific Island Rotarians so that they can visit their local communities and explain to community leaders and the community about the safety and effectiveness of vaccination. This will be in conjunction with training local health workers at a central location and design of communication and social mobilisation plans, undertaking training-of-trainers’ sessions as necessary.
Training will empower local health workers to communicate with caregivers on the importance of the vaccines, the diseases it prevents, and potential side effects, while also equipping them with key messages to help allay any misgivings and providing a framework for ongoing supportive supervisions.The project has just begun and will be completed by 2023.
After completion, the project’s success will be measured by how sustainable our project has been. We are very confident that we will succeed for the following reasons:
- UNICEF are committed to continue to manage the vaccination roll-out after 2023;
- UNICEF will be assisting each country to purchase the 3 vaccines at bulk prices including some credit assistance;
- UNICEF will continue to strengthen the health systems as required."