Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, says Jamaica has made significant gains in the area of immunisation coverage over the last 50 years.
Dr. Ferguson informed that Jamaica has been recognised among the most successful countries in Latin America and the Caribbean region by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), pointing out that the country's programme has been cited as a model for other nations.
[Related Story: Jamaica has made Significant Gains in Health Care – Ferguson]
The Minister was making his contribution to the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on July 11, under the theme: ‘Quality health care for all: Fulfilling the Mission, Advancing the Vision’.
In 2010, the country achieved 100 per cent coverage for tuberculosis (BCG),
92 per cent for polio, diphtheria, pertussis or whooping cough, 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 prestigious award is given to the country that has made the most improvement in its Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) for the year.
Dr. Ferguson pointed out that, "some of the gains that we boast today have been built on the foundation of a strong primary healthcare system."
He said this is characterised by a good network of community based health centres, hospitals that were strategically located, active community participation in health and a well trained and dedicated cadre of health care professionals as well as the provision and expansion of the health infrastructure.
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter