Vaccination: an Asset for the Future of Children

Photo: UNICEF RDC Mrazikova

It means a lot to me to talk to you about vaccinating children, which is one of the best practices providing children all the chances to succeed in life. It is the only way to prevent mortal childhood diseases.

Children in the province of South-Kivu, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), are still affected by diseases neonatal tetanus, whooping cough, measles, etc. which lead to childhood mortality.

“Yet these diseases can be prevented through vaccination.”

Some children in South-Kivu are not vaccinated, because their parents are not informed enough about the importance of vaccination. Sometimes, they even hide their children during vaccination campaigns because they believe that a vaccination can make their children sterile precluding them from having children.

Other children in this province are not vaccinated, it is also because they live in remote areas. They live out of reach of the vaccination officers due to lack of transportation.

“An insecure environment also deprives many children of vaccinations.”

In South-Kivu, roads are sometimes blocked so that vaccination officers cannot pass with their tools and vaccines.

“Not vaccinating children seriously harms their health.”

Their organisms are exposed to several diseases and malnutrition becomes a higher risk. A child who does not benefit from a vaccination is exposed to the risk to die.

Dear parents, please know that vaccinating your children can contribute to their good health and can guaranty them the hope of life. Bring your children to be vaccinated before their first birthday, in line with the vaccination schedule.

Vaccinating them means protecting them against many preventable diseases and, for the well-being of your children, please welcome the vaccination officers despite your beliefs.

“Dear political authorities, always seek peace because war deprives children of all their rights.”

War destroys hospitals, kills or frightens the few health officers, facilitate the pillage of medicines and deprives children of their right to health.

The government must support all initiatives related to children vaccination to reduce the childhood mortality rate. It would be a major step towards to respect the article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which advocates that a child has the right to health and to medical services.

Finally, dear decision-makers, restore all the infrastructures so that the vaccine and the vaccination officers can reach every child and ensure them a healthy life.

Translated from French by Lisa Berthelot.

Firstly published on May 2015

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Hugues est parlementaire des enfants à Bukavu, dans la province du Nord Kivu. Il étudie à l'Institut Bangu en section littéraire et rêve de travailler pour l'enfance, car l'enfant est toujours victime. Il s’est engagé dans le club de paix de chez lui et aime beaucoup son adage "qui aime la paix prépare l'enfant et non la guerre".

Hugues is a children’s parliamentarian in Bukavu, North Kivu. He studies in the literary section of the Institut Bangu and dreams of working for childhood, because the child is always a victim. He has joined the peace club in his neighbourhood and very much likes his motto “whoever loves peace prepares children not war”.

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