Washington, DC, 21 April 2017 (PAHO/WHO) -From March 21-23, 2017, Anuradha Gupta, Deputy CEO at the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), together with representatives of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), visited Guyana to analyze and learn from the country's achievements, challenges and experiences with the GAVI Alliance program on immunization coverage and equity.
Guyana has a health model based on Primary Health Care (PHC) as one of its main strategies to extend access to health services to underserved populations through community health workers. PAHO cooperates with the GAVI Alliance and the countries of the region of the Americas in the current "Vision 2020" Strategic Health Plan (2013-2020), which continues to prioritize decentralization and advances in coverage and equity of immunization to improve health care services through PHC, in order to achieve universal health.
Guyana is considered one of the high-performing countries for GAVI, achieving 95% immunization coverage (GAVI Country Hub, 2015) and was one of the first countries to take charge of financing new vaccines - pentavalent and rotavirus.
The major current challenges of the country's immunization program include the high cost of transportation for hard-to-reach communities, dispersed populations in rural villages, lack of communication technologies, inadequate cold chain, and high vaccination costs in some places of the country.
The GAVI Alliance is an international initiative to combat child mortality, bringing together the public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to vaccines for children, wherever they may live. Created in 2000, GAVI has facilitated the vaccination of millions of children around the world; thus avoiding preventable deaths.