Technology to boost awareness of immunization programmes

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Countries around the world are being encouraged to use mobile or Internet technologies to inform people about immunization programmes.

The call comes at the beginning of the annually observed Immunization Week, the slogan for which this year is "Immunization for a health future."

During the campaign the World Health Organization (WHO) expects millions of people globally will be reminded about the effectiveness of vaccines in saving lives.

Dr Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele, from WHO, says technology is playing an increasingly important role.

"What we want is to reach out directly to the general public. We want to encourage people to know much more about the vaccines that we have, for theme to check whether they are up to date with the vaccines that they need and to get vaccinations at the nearest clinic as required." (21")

WHO says that immunization averts two-to-three million deaths each year.

The agency attributes the progress to its Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) launched about forty years ago.

It says that when the EPI started, just five per cent of the world's children were receiving basic immunizations but now that figure stands at more than 80 per cent.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations.

Duration: 1'30"

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