February 2023: Partner News Round-Up

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India’s National Capital Territory of Delhi launched a monthlong campaign against measles and rubella on February 6, targeting 1.1 million children ages 9 months to 5 years. The campaign—slated to end March 6—aims to inoculate children (irrespective of their vaccination history) with a single dose of MR vaccine. Immunization will take place in government dispensaries, government hospitals and select private hospitals, with health workers also administering the vaccine door to door in vulnerable areas. The government hopes to eradicate the two diseases from Delhi by the end of the year. India saw more than 12,700 cases of measles in 2022. Hindustan Times (1); Hindustan Times (2)

Ghana expanded its national campaign against malaria on February 21, adding 51 districts in seven regions to the 42 districts included in the pilot program that started in 2019. Health workers are administering Mosquirix, which earned WHO prequalification status last year. The vaccine has also been introduced in national efforts in Kenya and Malawi: these countries, like Ghana, have consequently seen a “substantial reduction in deadly severe malaria, with a drop in child hospitalizations and child deaths,” according to WHO’s Ghana Country Office. As of December 2022, almost 460,000 children in Ghana had received at least one dose and 184,418 had undergone the complete four-dose regimen. The campaign is slated to end in December. WHO Ghana; Ghana MoH

The Philippines kicked off a nationwide school-based vaccination campaign against HPV on February 17, targeting 600,000 students. Initial participants received the first dose in February and will receive a second in September. Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer affecting women in the country, taking an estimated 3,807 lives annually. Philippine News Agency

Outbreak Response

India’s West Bengal state extended a statewide measles-rubella vaccination campaign until February 21 in some areas due to low coverage. The campaign—rolled out on January 9 and initially slated to end February 11—was extended in Asansol, Howrah, Kolkata, Siliguri, and areas under North and South 24 Parganas, where an initial lack of participation from private schools and private hospitals reportedly impeded its success. The campaign’s goal was to target 23 million children ages 9 months to 15 years by engaging both private and public schools, as well as children too young to attend school and those who have dropped out. The Times of India (1); The Times of India (2); The Times of India (3); The Times of India (4)

Kenya held a campaign against cholera February 11-February 20, targeting 2.2 million people with OCV in Garissa, Nairobi, Tana River and Wajir counties. In response to an outbreak that affected 14 counties, the health ministry is conducting the door-to-door initiative while taking additional measures that include providing water and sanitation supplies, increasing surveillance, and issuing an emergency alert. Ministry of Health (1); Science Africa; Ministry of Health (2)

Zimbabwe conducted the second phase of a vaccination campaign against measles January 30-February 10, aiming to reach over 600,000 children ages 5 to 14 in the eight most affected districts in the country. The first phase, which took place last year, immunized at least 700,000 children under age 5. Mbare Times; The Independent; Gavi

Cameroon’s Littoral region ran a reactive vaccination campaign against cholera February 22-26 in the health districts of Boko, Bonassama, Cité des Palmiers, Deido and Nylon. Targeting 659,758 people ages 1 and older, the campaign represented the fourth phase of a wider multiregional effort aiming at achieving a 95% vaccination rate. Cameroon has been experiencing a cholera outbreak since last October, with six cases recorded since January in the Littoral region. Journal du Cameroun

South Africa launched a nationwide vaccination campaign against measles on February 6, targeting children ages 6 months to 15 years. Running until March 31, the campaign encompasses Cape Town and the Free State and Northern Cape provinces. The Northern Cape campaign is visiting schools and early childhood development centers to administer 393,310 doses against measles as well as provide vitamin A drops and deworming tablets. The campaign comes as a response to an outbreak that has affected over 500 people across South Africa. African News Agency; DFA; NICD; Biz Community

The Dominican Republic kicked off a vaccination campaign against cholera on January 25 in response to a case reported last October. As of February 15, some 21,086 community members had received the vaccine. PAHO/WHO is supporting the MoH in investigating and responding to cholera alerts, performing prevention activities through risk communication, and conducting the ongoing campaign (along with the Red Cross and UNICEF). WHO; PAHO

Botswana kicked off a nationwide vaccination campaign against polio on February 23, targeting all children age 7 and under. The phased campaign employing novel oral polio vaccine (nOPV2) was originally slated to run until February 26, but the MoH announced a three-day mop-up campaign on February 27, saying it would continue until March 1. A second round is scheduled for March 30-April 2. The campaign is responding to a case of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 that was detected through environmental surveillance. Zawya; Ministry of Health

Niger has recently implemented reactive vaccination campaigns against meningitis in response to an ongoing outbreak. In the health districts of Dungass, Gouré, Matamèye, and Mirriah, the campaign targeted people ages 2 to 29 with the trivalent ACW meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine, reaching 99.8% coverage. From November to January, 559 cases were reported in the Zinder region bordering Nigeria, over 300 more than the previous year. WHO

Integrated Campaigns

Nigeria’s Bayelsa state conducted a vaccination campaign against yellow fever January 28-February 10, targeting almost 1.8 million people ages 9 months to 44 years. The campaign—part of the global Eliminate Yellow fever Epidemics strategy—was integrated with Covid-19 vaccinations for eligible people above age 18 and with vitamin A supplements for children. The state government is focused on targeting hard-to-reach areas and zero-dose people. Nigeria recorded 18 confirmed cases of yellow fever in 2022. WHO Nigeria

Local Campaigns

Bangladesh launched a countrywide vitamin A campaign on February 20, targeting 22 million children ages 6 months to 5 years. Implemented by 240,000 volunteers and 40,000 health workers, the campaign will take place in 120,000 centers around the country. In Dhaka alone, the effort targeted 1.5 million children in 3,732 centers. United News of Bangladesh; The Business Standard

India launched a nationwide MDA against lymphatic filariasis on February 10, aiming to eliminate the disease by 2027. The door-to-door campaign will focus on 10 filaria-affected states, including Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, and will include intensive monitoring at block level as well as daily analyses of coverage. In Odisha, the campaign aims to cover 13.6 million children in camps, schools and colleges. Press Information Bureau; Economic Times

Pakistan’s Punjab province ran a campaign against polio February 13-17 after several environmental sample sites tested positive for poliovirus. The campaign targeted more than 6 million children under age 5—especially those from high-risk and mobile populations in the districts of Lahore, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad. The weeklong effort took place in government health facilities and door to door. Over 1.1 million children were inoculated with two drops of the polio vaccine on the first day. PPEP; The News International; The Express Tribune

Malawi’s Phalombe district conducted an anti-HPV campaign January 19-23 that reached almost 30,000 girls ages 9 to 14. Supported by Médecins Sans Frontières, the campaign offered the vaccine in 91 schools throughout the district and trained 336 health surveillance assistants on the importance and administration of the shot. Head teachers and school health teachers helped raise awareness about the vaccine among parents. Médecins Sans Frontières

Brazil started a national campaign against Covid-19 on February 27 using bivalent shots. The first phase will immunize risk groups, including river dwellers and people in the country’s quilombola and indigenous communities, those who are immunocompromised, and people over 70. The second, third and fourth phases will target three different groups, successively: people ages 60 to 69; pregnant and postpartum women; and health professionals. Additionally, immunizers will visit the indigenous communities of the Yanomami territory and the Support House for Indigenous Health in Boa Vista to offer routine immunizations in addition to Covid-19 shots. Agência Brasil (1); Agência Brasil (2)

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