Above: Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Jamaica is improving vaccine coverage for the country’s children, reaching 100 percent coverage of tuberculosis in 2011, according to Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson.
Last year, Jamaica also achieved 92 percent coverage for polio, diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus, along with hepatitis B, haemophilus influenza type B.
The country also reached 88 percent vaccine coverage for measles, mumps and rubella.
The figures represent an improvement for Jamaica since 2009, when it had a 94 percent rate for tuberculosis and 91 percent for polio, among others.
Ferguson was speaking at the official launch of Vaccination Week in the Americas at the Medallion Hall Hotel in St Andrew Tuesday.
The coverage has helped eliminate or reduce the prevalence of a number of diseases, Ferguson said.
“This could not have been achieved without the dedication and hard work of our public health team, mainly the public health nurses, community midwives and community health aides,” he said. “I want to acknowledge and thank them for their service to this country in the field of primary health care.”
The main goal of the Health Ministry is to secure gains made in Jamaica over the years, particularly in the realization of Millennium Development Goal 4, which aims to reduce child mortality.
Ferguson is urging Jamaican parents to ensure that their children receive all necessary vaccinations by utilizing the country’s primary health care system.
“Secure their health, well-being and their future by taking this simple, but very important step,” he said.