Sri Lanka’s policy is timely immunization for every child – President tells Global Vaccine Alliance

Sri Lanka’s policy is timely immunization for every child – President tells Global Vaccine Alliance

June 4, 2020   11:58 pm

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Every child born in Sri Lanka enjoys the right to easy and equitable access to quality immunization services and the country’s immunization policy is based on the right of a child to receive timely immunization, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said. 

President made these comments joining the virtual ‘Global Vaccine Summit 2020’ which took place today (4) to raise USD 7.4bn  to distribute vaccines to combat infectious diseases such as malaria, cholera, measles and HIV/AIDS  in some of the poorest countries of the world over the next five years.

The Summit was organized with the participation of the UK, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, GAVI – the Vaccine Alliance, the United Nations, Foundations, public sector and the civil society.  

“Sri Lanka invests in quality vaccines which are pre-qualified by the WHO and registered. Our objective is to safeguard the quality and potency of the vaccines to ensure adequate immune development in each child,” President Rajapaksa told the Summit.

Emphasizing the importance of the resumption of childhood vaccination as a priority in the context of COVID – 19 pandemic President said the challenge ahead of Sri Lanka is to continue to maintain the quality of the National Immunization Programme and timely introduction of newer vaccines as the need arises. 

“We are keener than ever to safeguard our success in disease control over the last 30 years,” President noted.

President Rajapaksa said that Sri Lanka is ready to share its success story and best practices with the global community.

Full text of the Speech:  

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank Prime Minister Johnson for inviting my participation and we also commend the UK’s leadership on this important initiative.

Sri Lanka’s Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI) has been institutionalized for over three decades, and is well integrated with primary health care services from the national to grassroots level.
We provide easy and equitable access to quality immunization services for all children.

Our immunization policy is based on the right of a child to receive timely immunization to build immunity.

The National Immunization Programme is implemented by the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health across all districts.

We have a strong surveillance system and all vaccine-preventable diseases are an integral part of the communicable disease surveillance system. We also maintain very high vaccination coverage in all the districts.

Sri Lanka invests in quality vaccines which are pre-qualified by the WHO and registered. Our objective is to safeguard the quality and potency of the vaccines to ensure adequate immune development in each child. 

Sri Lanka maintains an identified budget line for immunization programmes, including the purchase of vaccines. Nearly 98% of the cost is borne by the Government, demonstrating financial sustainability, which is critical to the success of such programmes. We are grateful that GAVI, the WHO and UNICEF are the leading international donors who have been supporting Sri Lanka financially. 

In the COVID -19 context resumption of childhood vaccination is considered a priority.

Sri Lanka’s challenge is to continue to maintain programme quality and timely introduction of newer vaccines as the need arises. We are keener than ever to safeguard our success in disease control over the last 30 years. We also stand ready to share our success story and best practices with the global community.

I thank you.

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