USAID commits further support on Covid-19 vaccination

THE United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has expressed its commitment to continue supporting the government in efforts to attain Covid-19 vaccination target.

Through the US government’s initiative for Global Vaccine Access, or Global VAX, USAID Covid-19 response in Tanzania has provided US Dollars 25 million in additional support to help accelerate vaccination.

This was said over the weekend in Iringa by the Mission Director for USAID Tanzania Kate Somvongsiri during a music concert aimed at educating and sensitising the public on the need to undergo Covid-19 vaccination.

The campaign was organized by the Ministry of Health through the Health Promotion unit together with the FHI 360 EpiC project with the fund from the USAID.

She said Global VAX funding is supporting activities that include investing in logistics to safely store and transport vaccines, building capacity of health care workers to support vaccination efforts, monitoring vaccine safety and ensure hard-to-reach rural populations have access to vaccination.

Somvongsiri added that to date, as the largest vaccine donor to Tanzania, the US government has donated more than seven million vaccines, both Johnson & Johnson (Jensen) and Pfizer and now is focusing on getting those shots in the arms.

She also commended the government   for vaccinating 51 per cent of the eligible population, arguing that it is a huge achievement, since two months ago only 15 per cent was vaccinated.

“But there is more work to be done to reach the 70 per cent of the target, and we will not rest until every eligible person is vaccinated…,” Somvongsiri said, adding that the USAID is looking forward to continue working with the government.

Iringa Regional Chief Medical Officer (RMO), Dr Mohamed Mang’una, when giving updates on the progress of vaccination said Iringa is one of the regions in the country that continues with efforts of protecting its people against the pandemic.

He said since President Samia Suluhu Hassan launched the Covid-19 vaccination campaign in August 2021, Iringa region supported the move, including launching its own campaign.

Until May this year, the region vaccinated approximately 76,632 people, equivalent to 44 per cent of the regional target.

Speaking at the same event, the Director of Public Health Education from the Ministry of Health, Dr Amalberga Kasangala commended the USAID for its contribution to the government’s efforts to vaccinate the country’s population.

Dr Kasangala added that through the four-month campaign, they have been able to reach out to 51 per cent of population in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.

He noted that by December this year, they look forward to reaching 70 per cent of the target as per the World Health Organization (WHO) directive.

In Tanzania, FHI 360 EpiC builds the capacity of both national and local governments to deliver integrated health and social services that address the country’s most pressing human development challenges.

FHI 360 Country Director Waziri Nyoni said the FHI 360 partners with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to support systems for strengthening, building capacity and develops national strategies, guidelines and tools for improving the delivery of public-sector programmes.

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