MINSTER of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson says Jamaica’s success in immunisation is due to the country’s strong primary health care system.
Ferguson says this is characterised by a good network of community-based health centres, hospitals that are strategically located, active community participation in health, a well-trained and dedicated cadre of health care professionals and the provision and expansion of the health infrastructure.
“In the area of immunisation coverage, Jamaica has been recognised among the most successful countries in Latin America and the Caribbean region by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO). Our programme is cited as a model for other nations. The foundation was laid for this from as far back as the 1970s,” he said.
Last year, Jamaica achieved a hundred per cent coverage for tuberculosis (BCG), 92 per cent for polio, diphtheria, pertussis or whooping cough and tetanus (DPT), hepatitis B and haemophilus influenza type b (HIB) and 88 per cent coverage for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).
In 2007 and again in 2011, Jamaica won the Henry C Smith Immunisation Award. This award is given to the country that has made the most improvement in its Expanded Programme on Immunisation for the year.