THE United Nations (UN) has urged Tanzania to keep the momentum that has evidently built up in coverage of Covid-19 vaccination.
More so, it has reiterated a commitment to collaborate with Tanzania to increase the uptake of the vaccine in continued efforts to fight the global pandemic.
Speaking shortly before concluding his tour in the country, the UN Assistant Secretary-General and the Global Lead Coordinator for Covid-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership, Mr Ted Chaiban, also commended Tanzania for doubling uptake of Covid-19 vaccine.
“Tanzania has done a great job by increasing coverage of Covid-19 vaccination from 6 per cent a few weeks ago to more than 12 per cent now,” he said.
He was optimistic that if this will be maintained, then the country will be able to vaccinate 70 per cent of the adult population by December this year.
Mr Chaiban also commended the government for its decision to hold campaigns for increasing awareness of the vaccine among people in the country.
“During our stay in Tanzania, we have observed a huge increase in vaccination, starting with the Ruvuma region,” he said.
For her part, the Minister for Health, Ummy Mwalimu said the government will continue with efforts to increase the number of Tanzanians who are vaccinated. Speaking recently during their meeting with Vice-President Dr Phillip Mpango, Chaiban said although Tanzania has not reached the international target of administering the vaccine to 70 per cent of its population, it has been able to increase the vaccination rate from 6.3 per cent by the end of 2021 to 12.4 per cent at present.
He said Tanzania was late in launching the vaccination, but they commend it for being able to take steps which have increased the number of people taking the jab through outreach programmes and health facilities.
“Tanzania now needs to keep the momentum and accelerate vaccination; especially by ensuring that groups such as the elderly and people with chronic illnesses are given priority and to ensure that all are vaccinated,” he said.
Elaborating, the UN official said challenges brought by Covid-19 pandemic should provide a lesson to developing countries on how to strategise and invest heavily in basic healthcare, especially by ensuring that their locally made drugs address outbreak of diseases.
He added: “There is also a need to create public awareness for employees in sectors such as education and tourism to promote vaccination campaigns in their midst.”
Responding, Dr Mpango assured Mr Chaiban of the government’s readiness to work with the international community in tackling Covid-19 pandemic, “We are providing jabs to all groups of people who are at risk of contracting the virus.
Among the efforts to deal with the pandemic is continuous improvement of our health systems through several interventions, including capacity building for medical personnel to tackle the disease,” he said.
“Other efforts include improvement of emergency services as well as construction and rehabilitation of health facilities to enhance the provision of basic health services,” added the Vice-President.
Mr Chaiban was in Tanzania for an official visit to meet government officials and key partners to support acceleration of the Covid-19 vaccination.