DESPITE the coronavirus pandemic, health workers responsible for immunisation services in Pangani District, Tanga Region, have continued providing essential services while taking precautionary measures against the novel virus.
This was said recently by Tanga Regional Immunisation Services Coordinator Seif Shaib during a special tour led by National Immunisation Programme Project Officer Richard Magodi to raise awareness of Covid-19 prevention guidelines for healthcare workers responsible for immunisation services.
Elaborating, Mr Shaib said the region had enough vaccines and immunisation services were available at health facilities.
For his part, Mr Magodi had an opportunity to witness the provision of immunisation services at various health facilities and how health workers were observing Covid -19 prevention guidelines, which among others, required residents to observe social distancing and frequent handwashing with running water and soap and wear facemasks.
“Health personnel responsible for the provision of immunisation services and monitoring of preventable diseases in children should continue with vaccine schedules, while observing Covid -19 prevention guidelines,” Mr Magodi added.
Commenting on Human Papiloma V irus (HPV) vaccine, which is given to girls aged 14 years to prevent them from cervical cancer, he said the vaccine was available at all heath facilities, noting that girls who were aware of their immunisation schedules should visit health centres.
He said health committees at health facilities, village and streets leaders should be involved in sensitising citizens on the importance of the HPV vaccine to girls.
Meanwhile, healthcare workers have been urged to make monitoring of vaccine preventable diseases especially measles, polio and tetanus in children especially at this time, when the country was battling with Covid-19.
“We should focus more on vaccines because without doing so many people may die from preventable diseases,” he said.
Mr Magodi cited the DRC saying last year’s statistics indicated that a few people died of Ebola compared to measles.
“This is due to the fact that Ebola was prioritised more than other preventable diseases. Therefore, as a country we will continue providing immunisation services by observing Covid- 19 prevention guidelines. He, however, called upon healthcare providers to utilise the Tanzania Immunisations Registry to have realistic data which is useful in decisionmaking.
“At health facilities we have visited health workers and have continued using this system for vaccination, requesting for vaccines and other immunisation services and receive various information needed by using tablets and they have been trained how to use the system,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Magodi visited vaccine centres at Pangani District Hospital, Bushiri Madanga and Kimang'a dispensaries.
For his part, Medical in Charge at Kimang'a Dispensary, Dr Mohamed Kombo, noted that they had been taking precautionary measures against the disease by raising public awareness.
“We have taken precautionary measures against the novel virus by educating villagers about the respiratory disease,” he said.