YHC increases skill level to monitor ESAVI

POSTED: 07/15/11 1:06 PM

St. Maarten – Youth Health Care (YHC) has increased its skills to monitor Events Supposedly Attributed to Immunization and Vaccination (ESAVI). YHC staff will be able to react to any national emergency with respect to vaccination related events.

Staff learned how to react to situations that appear to be related to vaccinations, to avoid jeopardizing the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) and not causing panic which may result in loss of confidence and trust. Immediate action is required any time an ESAVI is suspected to have occurred. Not doing so may result in the population not wanting to be vaccinated anymore which in turn may cause outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases.

EPI includes all matters related to vaccination and immunization, from manufacturing, ordering, purchase, storage at the right temperature know as the cold chain, transport, usage, recording and discarding of used materials. Everyone involved in any part of EPI must be aware of their responsibility and this includes also having basic knowledge on surveillance. Surveillance is the collection, analysis and monitoring of the incidence of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

The ESAVI training covered a diverse amount of information including history of vaccination on St. Maarten, case studies, surveillance, elimination of measles, rubella and Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) and the role and importance of international organizations such as the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on the EPI program and a session on injecting practices.

Staff members were of the opinion that the training that took place in May was essential and necessary and that it should happen more often. All nurses and administrative staff of YHC and the surveillance team from General Preventive Health in addition to two registered nurses from St. Eustatius took part in the ESAVI training.

Facilitators from abroad were Dr. Henriette Hooykaas, youth physician working at YHC Curacao and Dr. Malik Hashim from the Immunization division from the PAHO. The local facilitators were Nurse Brunhilda Illidge from the St. Maarten Medical Center, A. Jeffers, retired Registered Nurse of the vaccination program, Eva de Weever, Epidemiologist and Maria Henry, Acting Head of Collective Prevention Services. Dr. Hooykaas and Dr. Hashim also provided information to physicians and other healthcare workers.

The objective of the workshop was to increase skills, knowledge and insight into immunization and vaccination with specific emphasis on ESAVI and the need for all stakeholders of immunization and vaccination to be continuously vigilant.

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Comments (1)


  1. Dr. Neville H. de Weever LaBega says:

    I was very happy to learn about the ESAVI and EPI training workshop that was held in May for the civil servants of our Youth Health Care department of the Ministry of Health. I also learned from your article that local physicians were invited to attend the training workshop also. Regretfully, I did not receive an invitation although I am registered as a general practitioner in Sint Maarten for twelve years. Of course I got all the necessary information from the Pan American Health Organization myself. I am making this comment as I think that Saint Martiners should be aware that apparently our governmental organizations do not recognize us as professionals. We cannot depend on them so it is absolutely necessary that we take care of matters ourselves.

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