May 12, 2020, Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan – The U.S. Government through its Agency for International Development (USAID) provided more than 321 million tenge ($750,000) to support Kazakhstan’s response efforts against the recent measles outbreak. USAID is providing these funds through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to identify root causes of the measles outbreak, raise public awareness about the issue, and train healthcare professionals to strengthen immunization efforts.
Kazakhstan is in the top ten countries in the region with a high number of measles cases including an outbreak in 2019. Last year, the Ministry of Health reported 21 deaths due to measles, 19 of whom were children. This shows immunity gaps which are likely to be worsened due to COVID-19 related disruptions to immunization services. USAID will help by providing technical support, offering guidance on vaccine supply and immunization efforts, and developing a national communication strategy.
USAID will conduct training for health professionals to identify and address misconceptions about vaccine safety. This funding will support a post COVID-19 immunization catch-up campaign once the quarantine is lifted. Another important aspect of this initiative is equipping frontline workers with knowledge and skills on interpersonal communication on immunization.
USAID will also support a campaign to raise awareness through evidence-based data. Vaccine hesitancy is a growing issue in Kazakhstan. USAID’s funding will support an analysis of root causes of the measles outbreak and the development of recommendations to address them.
USAID is the world’s premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results. USAID’s work advances U.S. national security and economic prosperity, demonstrates American generosity, and promotes a path to recipient self-reliance and resilience. To know more, visit: https://www.usaid.gov/central-asia-regional and USAID/Central Asia’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/USAIDCentralAsia.