Ashgabat, 5 October 2020 – UNICEF and the Government of Turkmenistan have signed a five-year plan today to procure vaccines and vaccine related equipment worth 83 million USD. The vaccines that will be procured by UNICEF on behalf of the Government of Turkmenistan under the new Plan for 2021-2025 will protect children from fourteen vaccine preventable diseases and will ensure the continuity of the immunization programme in Turkmenistan.
“I appreciate the Government of Turkmenistan’s efforts in sustaining nearly universal rates of vaccination, which is critical for children’s wellbeing and public health,” said Christine Weigand, UNICEF Representative in Turkmenistan. “We are proud that the Government considers UNICEF as a partner of choice in procurement of quality vaccines and vaccine related equipment, and that we have been able to provide the government with continued support despite all the challenges in global delivery of supplies related to the pandemic,” said Ms.Weigand.
Since 2006, the procurement of vaccines and vaccine related supplies is fully financed by the Government, and UNICEF provides all related procurement services. UNICEF ensures that high-quality, low cost WHO-pre-qualified vaccines and safe injection and cold chain equipment are purchased and delivered to the country.
The total spending for vaccines and vaccination related supplies progressively grew since 2006 as the list of vaccines was extended and the related cold chain and logistics systems were upgraded. In 2019, three more vaccines were added to the national immunization plan to prevent pneumococcal disease, rotavirus and Hepatitis A, making the routine immunization calendar in Turkmenistan fully in line with WHO recommendations.
In many countries, immunization services have been disrupted significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, threatening the achievements in the eradication and elimination of major vaccine preventable diseases like polio and measles. In Turkmenistan, the government and UNICEF have been able to minimize the risk of disruption of routine immunization activities due to the current global pandemic and have ensured that the delivery of vaccines continued even under these difficult circumstances.
Currently Turkmenistan expressed its willingness to participate in the global COVAX facility. COVAX is a global initiative aimed at working with vaccine manufacturers to provide countries all around the world with equitable access to safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19, once they are licensed and approved. Immunization and children’s health in general will remain one of the key components of the new country programme of cooperation between UNICEF and Turkmenistan for 2021-2025.