Immunisation, the best tool to bring quality of life to Hondurans
Gavi Board member Edna Yolani Batres was the Secretary of State at the Bureau of Health in Honduras from January 2014 to December 2016, prioritising the control and eradication of vaccine-preventable diseases.
In 2016, Dr. Batres oversaw her country’s successful transition out of Gavi support to fully fund its own immunisation programme. In 2017, Honduras took over the cost of its human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine programme.
Dr Batres trained as a medical doctor and has a Master’s degree in Public Health.
How important is immunisation for your country?
Immunisation in Honduras is the best tool that we have to prevent disease, to prevent mortality. It is the tool that we have for life. To bring life, and quality of life to all Hondurans.
How important is partnering with Gavi?
Gavi has brought not only financial support to immunisation programmes in Honduras, but technical support. This technical support has brought a lot of knowledge to health workers, knowledge they can share, knowing the importance of vaccines and how vaccines can save lives. Gavi has helped us a lot, particularly with writing a new law where we guarantee free vaccines for all the population.
As a transitioned country, what future do you see for immunisation and children in Honduras?
As a transition country, it has been a very successful experience for us, because during the transition we had the opportunity to introduce a new vaccine in Honduras, a new vaccine that can save lives. So, transition has not only brought us the opportunity to introduce new vaccines, but the opportunity to make these programmes sustainable into the future of Honduras.
If you have one message for participants at Gavi’s Mid-Term Review meeting in the United Arab Emirates, what would it be?
Commitment. For the immunisation programme to be successful, we have to be committed. We have to really be champions, learning and understanding that this is the only tool we have that can prevent death, that can give life. And overall, we have quality of life for the future of our generations.