Ukraine

Healthworkers held 300 counselling sessions on immunisation at IDP centres [EN/UK]

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Forty-eight healthcare workers are visiting displaced people in western Ukraine as part of efforts to challenge misinformation about vaccines.

Forty-eight health workers have been visiting internally displaced persons’ (IDP) centres in Ukraine as part of efforts to challenge misinformation about vaccines and reduce the spread of infectious diseases, as the war continues to escalate.

The UNICEF project, which will see physicians hold public lectures and private meetings with IDPs, is set to take place throughout summer in five regions of Ukraine – Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil, Zakarpattia and Chernivtsi.

UNICEF health envoys will also answer some of the most common questions about immunisation and advise IDPs on where and how they can receive all necessary vaccinations according to the immunisation calendar.

Similar meetings are due to take place in over 700 temporary IDP centres.

During the first four weeks of the project, health workers already consulted around 3,000 Ukrainians with Lviv and Ternopil regions having the highest number of people subsequently signing up for vaccination. People are most interested in getting vaccinated against diphtheria and tetanus, COVID-19, hepatitis B and polio. In addition, mobilizers provide breastfeeding recommendations and consult IDPs on the “Spilno” multipurpose cash programme by UNICEF.

Talking about the importance of vaccination is most effective during personal conversations and open meetings, says infectious disease doctor Lilia Mykhailiv, who has already made her first visit to an IDP centre in Lviv.

“I was very interested in participating in this project because helping people is what always brings the greatest satisfaction,” says Lilia. “So now I am delighted to have the opportunity to hold meetings in IDP centres – especially regarding such an important topic as immunisation. During the full-scale war, it is our task as healthcare workers to provide psycho-social support and remind people about the diseases that threaten their safety if they hesitant to get vaccines.”

More than 200 medical workers from all over Ukraine have answered the callto take part in the initiative. Health mobilizers have been selected based on their expertise in routine vaccinations, medical qualifications, social skills and motivation for change in healthcare in Ukraine. Many of those who were selected have themselves become internally displaced, including university professors, family doctors and interns.

This project has been implemented by UNICEF Ukraine, together with the Ukrainian Catholic University, with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Media contacts Nina Sorokopud Chief of Communication UNICEF in Ukraine Email: nsorokopud@unicef.org