1.5  Your role in achieving the goals of the EPI

Your role as a Health Extension Practitioner is to lead the following activities, based on the national EPI recommendations:

  • Take every opportunity to identify and immunize all eligible children.
  • Ensure all eligible children attending the Health Post are immunized according to the recommended schedules.
  • Make immunization services routinely available at convenient times for mothers, ideally every day.
  • Involve the community in the schedule for outreach immunization sessions, so that you cover the target population within the target period.

There are five key operations that you need to undertake to run an EPI service efficiently and effectively, which are summarised in Box 1.2. You will learn about these key operations in detail in later study sessions in this Module.

Box 1.2  Five key operations for an effective immunization service

  1. Service delivery: involves strategies and activities in giving safe and timely vaccinations.
  2. Logistics: includes delivery of vaccines and necessary equipment to the site of use, transport, management of the ‘cold chain’ and safe waste disposal.
  3. Vaccine supply and quality: includes forecasting of vaccine needs, procurement, monitoring of vaccine usage rates and vaccine safety.
  4. Disease surveillance: involves monitoring of disease incidence, record keeping and reporting (see the Communicable Diseases Module, Study Sessions 39 to 41).
  5. Advocacy and communication: consists of social mobilisation, advocacy, community education on immunization and vaccination programme promotion.

The diagram on the left of Figure 1.5 summarises the five operational components listed in Box 1.2, and the diagram on the right reminds you that in order to achieve them there must also be:

  • sustainable financing
  • management
  • strengthening human and institutional resources.
Figure 1.5  (left) The five key immunization operations, and (right) the three additional requirements for achieving an effective immunization service.

In the next two study sessions, you will learn the details of the antibacterial and antiviral vaccines used in the EPI in Ethiopia.

1.4.6  Ensure prompt reporting and improved control of vaccine-preventable diseases

Summary of Study Session 1