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    036346

    The national immunization campaign of El Salvador: against the odds.

    Argueta RH; Jaramillo H

    Assignment Children. 1985; 69/72:397-414.

    The recent immunization campaign in El Salvador has been a success despite the civil war. Both the government and the guerrillas agreed that the goal of immunizing children was an ideal transcending all differences, and that immunization should be taken to all parts of the country and all Salvadorian children. The campaign had the personal support of the head of state, the church, UNICEF, PAHO/WHO, ICRC and other organizations who worked with the parties to implement the campaign. The 3 national immunization days, held on February 3, March 3, and April 21, 1985 were transformed into days of tranquillity. This article describes how the campaign was organized and presents an assessment of its achievements. An executive committee was created and both UNICEF and PAHO/WHO took part in its meetings. Specific commissions handled channeling, training, supplies, the cold chain, information and evaluation, and promotion and education. The plan of action proposed that all branches of government and the private sector support the immunization campaign and a national support council was establish for this purpose. The original goal was to immunize 400,000 children under 3 years of age against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, and measles. The goal was extended to cover children under 5 years of age. Funding was provided from both public and private organizations. Reasons the campaign was a success despite war conditions include: the campaign was backed by political commitment; the mechanisms created to implement the campaign functioned smoothly; mobilizing the media generated a change in opinion and attitude. The campaign rested on solid technical and political foundations. It reached 87% of children under 5 in the area.
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