On July 2018, Ethiopian officials announced that Redwan Hussein was appointed as Ethiopia’s ambassador to Eritrea, while the appointment of Semere Russom as Eritrea’s ambassador to Ethiopia was announced in a tweet by Yemane Gebremeskel, Eritrea’s minister of information. However, after more than a year, none of the two ambassadors has presented their letter of credence …
Your Excellencies Ministers!
Honorable PFDJ Officials & Governors!
Representatives of UN, WHO and other Partners!
All protocol Observed!
Ladies and Gentlemen!
First and for most, allow me to welcome you all, to this important event, of launching the Meningitis Vaccination Campaign, and Vitamin-A supplementation for our children and young adults.
As you all know, Vaccines are among the most cost-effective public health and clinical preventive-service interventions, as well as, the core component of any preventive service packages.
At the same time, we know that prevention is better than cure! By the same token; childhood immunization program provides a very high return on investment. Likewise, awareness of disease and carrying out prevention and treatment courses remain essential components for reducing infectious disease transmission.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
In recognition of the importance of vaccines, Eritrea has been working diligently to reduce the negative impact of vaccine-preventable diseases. For this reason, Eritrea has policies and appropriate strategies to reduce morbidity and mortality and thereby, increasing productivity that would directly and indirectly contribute to the economic development of the country.
At this point,” The Expanded Program on Immunization” is one of the most successful programs in Eritrea. We are providing 12 types of vaccines to prevent diseases, including tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, whooping cough, meningitis, and Rota vaccine, among others.
Besides, yellow fever vaccine is being provided for those who travel outside of the country. In addition to the above mentioned, Vitamin-A capsules to prevent vitamin A deficiency is being provided.
In Eritrea there are 285 static immunization program sites, and 385 outreach sites. Moreover, we conduct Sustainable Outreach Services (SOS) and Reach Every District (RED) Services.
Using these approaches, and additional activities, we are able to achieve over 95% coverage against ten diseases for which, we are on control stage, while we have practically eliminated the other two diseases namely poliomyelitis and both maternal & childhood tetanus.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Today’s launching of Meningitis-A immunizations is against meningococcal-A meningitis which is, a bacterial infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, that have spread up across 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, killing and disabling young people every year.
Meningitis-A is highly contiguous disease in our continent; it can kill or cause severe brain damage within hours. The disease is spread from person-to-person through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions, by coughing, kissing, or sharing eating utensils.
Children aged between 5-14 years, are the most high risk groups. Meningitis manifested by severe headache, fever, vomiting, bulging of the fontanel in infants, sensitivity to light and neck stiffness, which can lead to - convulsions, delirium and death.
At the same time, Meningitis can cause severe brain damage, and it is fatal in 50% of the cases. But, if it is treated soon, the case-fatality rate can be reduced by 5-10%.
Meningitis also creates great burden on individuals, families, and the health systems of the affected countries. Epidemics usually start at the beginning of the calendar year (January to February) when dry sands from the Sahara Desert begins blowing southward.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Our campaign also includes vitamin ‘A’ supplementation for children aged 6 to 59 months. As we all know, Infants and children have a high requirement of vitamin A for promoting rapid growth and for combating infections.
Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD), in children manifests itself as severe respiratory infection, diarrheal diseases, eye diseases ranging from exophthalmia (dry eyes), night blindness, and to a more serious sight threatening keratomalacia (melting of the cornea), that leads to corneal scars. Therefore, Vitamin-A supplementation is critically important, not only to prevent all the above-mentioned diseases, but also as essential element for child growth and survival.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
At this time, we are conducting catch-up campaign of Meningitis-A vaccination for the age group, ranging from 1-30 years. This will be followed by the introduction of this vaccine in our routine immunization program for children in the age range 1 to 5 years. The introduction of Meningitis-A vaccine in the routine immunization program will prevent morbidity and mortality of our children. To this effect, the Ministry of Health of the State of Eritrea is officially launching this vaccination today, and as usual, the Ministry is committed to continue the routine immunization program that includes Meningitis-A vaccine. Moreover, distribution of vitamin ‘A’ will be reinforced.
Finally, I would like to extend my thanks to all Parents of the Beloved Children, Government, Non-Government Partners, & Staff Members of Ministry of Health, who are contributing to the success of this important campaign.
I thank you all!
The National Meningitis Vaccination program and distribution of vitamin ‘A’ commenced today, 15 November in the presence of senior Government officials, representatives of UN offices in Eritrea and stakeholders.
Asmara, 15 November 2019- The National Meningitis Vaccination program and distribution of vitamin ‘A’ commenced today, 15 November in the presence of senior Government officials, representatives of UN offices in Eritrea and stakeholders.
Speaking at the event, Ms. Amina Nurhussen, Minister of Health, said that in recognition of the importance of vaccines, Eritrea has been working diligently to reduce the negative impact of vaccine-preventable diseases and that Eritrea has policies and appropriate strategies to reduce morbidity and mortality and thereby increasing productivity that would directly and indirectly contribute to the economic development of the country.
Minister Amina went on to say that currently 12 types of vaccines are being provided to prevent diseases including tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, whooping, and meningitis and Rota vaccine among others.
Minister Amina also said that in Eritrea there are 285 static immunization program sites, and 385 outreach sites and that using these approaches it was able to achieve 95% coverage against ten diseases which are on controlling stage while practically eliminating poliomyelitis and both maternal and childhood tetanus.
D. Martins Ovberedjo, WHO Representative, said that the Meningitis Belt starches from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia and Eritrea in the east comprising a population of 450 million people and that makes the program very important.
Dr. Martins also commended the commitment of the Eritrean Government in terms of channeling resources to the campaign and expressed confidence that Eritrea is on the right track to eliminate meningitis and to reduce the morbidity and mortality among the vulnerable population.
The UNCEF Representative in Eritrea, Ms. Shaheen Nilofer on her part said that Eritrea is embarking on one of the largest meningitis vaccination program and distribution of vitamin ‘A’ and expressed that UNCEF will support for the success of the program.
The 40th anniversary commemoration of the founding of the National Union of Eritrean Women was held in Asneda, Anseba region, at regional level.
Keren, 15 November 2019- The 40th anniversary commemoration of the founding of the National Union of Eritrean Women was held in Asneda, Anseba region, at regional level.
The event was attended by Ms. Leul Gebreab, Minister of Labor and Social Welfare, Government and PFDJ officials as well as a number of residents in the area.
Ms. Amna Hassan, head of the National Union of Eritrean Women branch in the Anseba region, said that effort is being exerted to empower women in all sectors and to realize the participation of young women in the activities of the union.
Indicating that the union that was set up 40 years ago in Arag was the result of the struggle and steadfastness of the Eritrean women, Mr. Rezene Adonai, Secretary of the PFDJ in the region, called for reinforced role and contribution for total emancipation of women.
Mr. Osman Adm, administrator of the Asmat sub-zone, on his part said that the 40th anniversary of the founding of the NUEW is unique for it is being celebrated at the time of new era unfolding and called for transferring the noble values to the young generation.
The commemoration event was highlighted by cultural and artistic programs portraying the history and contribution of Eritrean women.