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Analytical summary - Immunization and vaccines development

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Zambia has adopted the WHO guidelines for vaccinating children through the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI). Children are considered fully immunized if they receive a vaccination against TB, (BCG), and three doses of each of the following: diphtheria; pertussis; tetanus/hepatitis B/Haemophilis influenza type b (DPT-HepB-Hib). Additionally, they must be vaccinated against Polio and a Measles, within the first twelve months from birth. According to the ZDHS 2007, in 2007:

  • 68% of children aged 12-23 months were fully immunized;
  • 92% of children received the BCG vaccination;
  • 85% were vaccinated against measles;
  • The coverage of the first dose of DPT or DPT-HepB-Hib vaccine and polio was at 92% and 94%, respectively;
  • 80% of children received the third dose of DPT or DPT-HepB-Hib vaccine; and
  • 77% received the third dose of polio vaccine.

The Reaching Every District strategy remained the main strategy for EPI. The EPI programme has made tremendous achievements which include maintenance of the polio free status, maternal neonatal tetanus elimination since 2005, and significant reduction in morbidity and mortality from measles compared to the late 1990s. There is critical need to sustain this situation in order to avoid outbreaks.

The national target for immunization is to have at least 90% of the districts attaining 80% DPT3 coverage. The proportion of districts attaining coverage above 80% for DPT3 was 85% in 2008 and 77% in 2009 (HIMS).