The National Health Services yesterday launched an electronic immunization register to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of immunization services.
The electronic system was made possible through the financial and technical assistance of the World Health Organisation (W.H.O).
Caretaker Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, said the use of a paper-based system to record vaccine schedules for children came with many challenges. One of the biggest challenges was the reliability of data, which was often inaccurate.
“Since the beginning of the immunization programme in Samoa, all record keeping was paper based,” he said.
“This paper based system to track children who have been vaccinated and to monitor vaccines and other supplies used during the process are the traditional ways used in other countries.
“However, it can lead to a generation of unreliable data and errors (in data). The new system can boost programme performance and help to reduce the number of unimmunized and minimize vaccine wastages.”
The Prime Minister also emphasised the importance of immunization reports for children.
“If a child has the right to education, they should also have the right to be immunized for a healthier future,” he said.
He acknowledged the support from W.H.O. for making the services available in Samoa.
W.H.O. representative, Dr. Baoping Yang, said the electronic registering system is a powerful tool.
In explaining the register, he said it will provide individual child data such as vaccination status, scheduled dates for each vaccination, report generation and management of vaccine stocks and logistics.
He added that the paper-based system was “labour intensive, prone to errors, delay and missing of data.”
“This system will fully be of advantage in establishment of government broadband high way,” he said.
“The immunization programme has made significant progress in achieving a healthy Samoa, in which maternal and child health is an important component.
“The government has ensured supply of safe and effective vaccine, maintained reliable cold chain system and operational costs.”
In addition, the W.H.O representative said as a result of the register Samoa has eliminated and controlled many vaccine preventable diseases such as rubella.
Caretaker Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr. Talalelei Tuitama, launched the electronic system.