This post was originally published on the Sabin Vaccine Institute’s blog as part of their World Immunization Week blog series.
Honduras will kick off Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA) today with a day-long ceremony highlighting the importance of vaccines and other health interventions like deworming and vitamin A supplementation in improving health. The Honduras ceremony, taking place on Monday the 28th in Tegucigalpa, will run alongside World Immunization Week.
VWA represents a unique opportunity to deliver vaccines and other life-saving health interventions to those who need them most. Deworming, vitamin A supplementation, screenings for diabetes, Body Mass Index and blood pressure measurement, will all occur under the umbrella of VWA. In addition, VWA will serve as a platform for civil registration of children in remote communities, sexual and reproductive health education, and delivery of medical and dental care to out-of-regular access groups, among others.
In addition to partners from PAHO, UNICEF, GAVI and the government of Honduras, Sabin will be attending the VWA launch event to further promote vaccines, deworming, and a holistic, integrated approach to ensuring good health and well being.
Because Sabin’s Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases focuses on mass drug administration for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) like intestinal worms, the integration of deworming into VWA is of particular importance. The benefits of controlling intestinal worms through deworming extend to better health, better growth, better learning, and better earning.
The inclusion of deworming as part of VWA – and even more – as part of the regular schedule of vaccines –is extremely cost-effective. All children at risk for intestinal worms at the national level could receive treatment at almost no additional cost. Nurses and community health workers who give children their shots can easily administer deworming pills to these children during these scheduled immunization campaigns.
Additionally, treating intestinal worms helps make other interventions more effective, since the bodies and immune systems of children free of parasites are better prepared to benefit from nutrition, health care and immunizations.
In Honduras, more than a million school-aged children are at risk for intestinal worms and the prevalence of intestinal worms is estimated to be greater than 50 percent in almost half the municipalities. Countries like Honduras have a lot to gain from integrating deworming into regular vaccination programs. This is an effective solution that will boost economic potential and the health of the country’s population.
The integrated delivery package in Honduras’ Vaccination Week in the Americas (launch) is an excellent example for how vaccination and deworming can work together to provide better health for all. We’re looking forward to promoting and participating in such an important event and we encourage other countries to follow the example.
Social Media: For a recap on today’s events, check out the Global Network blog later tonight, 4/28, and follow along with the hashtag #VWALaunch.