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For every flu shot received at UHN, we donate a measles, polio or tetanus vaccine to a child in need through UNICEF. (Photo: © UNICEF UNI47170 Brioni)

UHN's annual flu campaign has been extended to Nov. 18.  All UHN staff, physicians, students, volunteers and contract workers now have this week and next to get their flu shot at a UHN flu cart.

Get your flu vaccine to help protect yourself, your family and our patients.

When you receive your flu vaccine at a UHN flu cart, UHN donates one measles, polio or tetanus vaccine to a child in need through UNICEF Canada.

UNICEF's initiatives to increase vaccinations of preventable illnesses in children span across the world. Last week, we covered a UNICEF vaccination initiative in Somalia. This week, we tell a story of a hardworking midwife committed to a UNICEF-funded vaccination campaign in Yemen.

Entesar: A Vaccine Champion

From homes to work to midnight births, Midwife Entesar Saeed Bamoumen is bringing life-saving care to the children and women of a small district named Roukeb in Mukalla, Yemen.

A household name, Entesar is seen criss-crossing the streets with her signature medical bag. For 25 years, she has offered services including vaccinations, post-natal care and teaching women about child healthcare and disease prevention.

During the day, she's at the Roukeb medical centre. After her regular work hours, she is making rounds at pregnant women's homes, and rushing to attend to those who go into labour in the middle of the night and can't reach a doctor.

Entesar is also a vaccine champion. She is currently participating in the ongoing immunization campaign against polio, measles and rubella, which is co-funded by UNICEF.

On an average day, she vaccinates roughly 40 children who come to the centre on Mondays and Wednesdays. During campaigns, she vaccinates as many as 375 children a day.

The value of campaigns in increasing vaccinations

To make sure children are vaccinated, she talks about the importance of immunization to the local women. She's been known to spread awareness in a roomful of them – even during a delivery.

"Shortly after a new baby is born," explains Entesar, "I visit its mother and I usually find many women gathering in the same room. I promote their awareness about vaccination, prenatal healthcare, and symptoms of some disease like dengue fever."

She thinks that such campaigns along with workshops and posters have yielded great results, as women and men are now turning up in large numbers at the centre seeking vaccination and information to prevent disease

 "In the first days of [this current] campaign, we vaccinated almost 70 per cent of targeted children," she reports.

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