BRASÍLIA (25 April 2012) – Brazil’s Ministry of Health is participating in a vaccination campaign in Haiti that is expected to vaccinate 2.3 million children against measles and rubella and 2.5 million children against polio. The vaccination campaign, targeted to treat children up to 9 years old, is part of an initiative supported through the Brazil-Cuba-Haiti Tripartite Commission and the South-South Cooperation Project to Strengthen the Health Authority of Haiti. A Brazilian team will follow up vaccinations from April 21 to May 5 as part of Brazil’s continued humanitarian efforts in Haiti.
As a major international partner in the campaign, Brazil has donated three million doses of oral polio vaccine, provided 15 vehicles with drivers and fuel for vaccine distribution and offered technical support through three Brazilian nurses with experience in campaigns in areas of difficult access. As a result of Brazilian government efforts to improve health care management and epidemiological surveillance, the Ministry of Health has also supported the campaign by using visual communication tools to promote public engagement in the program.
Minister of Health Alexandre Padilha remarked that, in addition to helping the Haitian population following the 2010 earthquake, these efforts also are beneficial for communities in Brazil: "The Brazilian government supports initiatives in Haiti that have been decisive in reducing cholera cases. By working in partnership with the Haitian government and promoting border initiatives, we have also reduced the risk of introducing such diseases into Brazil."
Brazilian initiatives on strengthening health care in Haiti are funded through the Ministry of Health, as approved by Congress in 2010 (Law 12,239). The law allows for special assistance operations abroad and specifically, health-oriented initiatives and humanitarian assistance in Haiti.
Vaccine storage and funding
Brazil is investing in the recovery of 30 vaccine storage areas throughout Haiti. The investment includes the acquisition of 125 refrigerators and the installation of equipment for the Cold Network of the Expanded Vaccination Program in Haiti.
Between March and April 2012, Brazil’s Ministry of Health donated a total of 5.850 million vaccine doses. Additionally to the 3 million doses of polio vaccine that will be used in the current campaign, donations included BCG (tuberculosis vaccine), DPT (vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) and DT (vaccine for diphtheria and tetanus).
To secure these vaccines, the Ministry of Health has invested US$ 2.7 million, as well as US$ 108,000 in product transportation with the support of the Pan American Health Organization. By the end of 2012, 2.850 million additional doses will be sent to Haiti.
The Ministries of Health in Brazil and Cuba are working together on reconstruction efforts in Haiti. Through a United Nations (UN) mandate, Brazil has led the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) since 2004. In addition to peacekeeping operations, the mission provides humanitarian assistance, which was enhanced following the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
Out of a total of R$ 135 million (approx. US$ 71.9 million) in planned funding from the Brazilian government to Haiti, R$ 69.9 million (approx. US$ 37.3 million) was invested in 2011 and 2012 in health, agriculture and defense sectors. Initiatives coordinated by the Brazilian government in 2011 include:
• The recovery of two laboratories and construction of four health facilities
• The purchase of equipment and health supplies such as the delivery of cholera treatments and 30 ambulances
• Grants to train 2,000 community agents and 500 health care technicians
The Secretariat for Social Communication (SECOM) of the Presidency of Brazil is responsible for coordinating the public relations activities for the government of Brazil. The official website of the Brazilian State is www.brasil.gov.br