Aztag: MACVF Continues to Support Health Partnerships in Armenia

The mass Measles and Rubella (MR) immunization campaign will target around 1.25 million persons in Armenia aged from 6-27. To be launched in October of 2007 the MR campaign is initiated in close partnership with the MACVF, UNICEF, the Vishnevskaya-Rostropovich Foundation, GAVI, WHO and the Ministry of Health of Armenia.

Yerevan, Armenia – A mass campaign to eliminate measles and rubella is the Millennium Armenian Children’s Vaccine Fund’s (MACVF) best long-term hope for controlling measles and rubella epidemics in Armenia. Measles is the greatest vaccine-preventable killer of children in the world today and the eighth leading cause of death among people of all ages worldwide. However, immunization mass campaigns are proven to be an effective solution for preventing such deadly diseases. At the same time, initiating such ambitious projects usually becomes a difficult financial challenge.

“We have been frustrated by the slow pace of access to modern vaccines in Armenia during this new millenium, yet breakthroughs are achievable if we aggressively pursue partnership and work together in new ways” says Raffy Ardhaldjian, the Chief Volunteer Officer of the MACVF.

Despite its routine measles-immunization efforts in recent decades, Armenia remains in the list of countries susceptible to measles outbreaks, which strike between 30 and 40 million children every year and result in some 9 million deaths internationally. These statistics indicate that near 100 percent immunization coverage must be maintained at all times to fight this highly contagious disease. This makes even more critical the need for an integrated community approach involving a variety of stakeholders.

To support the Supplementary Immunization Activity (SIA) planned for October of 2007, MACVF has been able to secure $180 000 for MR (measles and rubella) vaccine procurement. A one-time grant of $100,000 has been generously donated by the mobile telecommunications company VivaCell. Additional $60 000 has been pledged by another US-based organization – Fighting Infectious Diseases in Emerging Countries (FIDEC). The pledged funds will be raised this summer from Armenian Diaspora in Argentine.

“Our first meeting with the MACVF has opened the gate to explore the possibility of synergizing our efforts in the field of immunization in Armenia” says Daniel Stamboulian, the Chairman of FIDEC.

For the success of the campaign, as Mr. Stamboulian suggests, it is very important to help the National Immunization Programme in Armenia to educate both medical professionals and general population on importance of immunization. The main target should be children at schools and through them their families and educators.

The impact of the mass Measles and Rubella immunization campaign will significantly advance the health and well-being of children, young adults, and young mothers in Armenia.

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Established in 2001, MACVF is a public-private capital fund administered by the Ani and Narod Memorial Foundation (ANMF) in partnership with international agencies including UNICEF, WHO, and USAID, as well as the RA Ministry of Health. MACVF is committed to securing financial capital for the procurement of vaccines during the next decade, and helping build Armenia’s human capital of healthcare workers, thus safeguarding the well-being of several generations of Armenians.

FIDEC is a U.S.-based, nonprofit organization that provides resources to health care programs fighting infectious diseases in emerging countries. It is made up of physicians, scientists and other health care professionals. Last years FIDEC started working in Armenia to improve different health care sectors. With their knowledge and experience in the field of infectious diseases, FIDEC has been providing valuable resources to Armenian health care professionals to raise the quality of health care in local communities. FIDEC also has supported the creation, building, and organization of an Infectious Disease Unit at the Pediatric Hospital in Yerevan.

Vivacell is the leading Armenian mobile operator, providing a wide range of Voice and Data services. Since its launch on 1st of July 2005, in a short period of time VivaCell has managed to build a nationwide network and a considerable customer base. VivaCell drives the development and offering of innovative mobile communications products, services and features in the Armenian mobile communications market.

Source: Aztag

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