Malawi will launch a national polio outbreak response vaccination campaign in March, following the detection of the first wild poliovirus case in Africa in five years. The case is also Malawi’s first in 30 years. The campaign will target around 2.9 million children under age 5 and will extend beyond Malawi’s borders to neighboring countries. WHO; RFI; VOA
In Ethiopia’s Tigray region, the second phase of an integrated measles vaccination campaign concluded on February 7, reaching 595,000 children under age 5, including refugees in Mai-Tsebri in the North Western zone. Vitamin A supplementation and deworming medicines were also co-delivered in 67 rural and two urban woredas. In some areas, health workers reportedly walked up to 21 miles to administer vaccines, with families providing accommodation and food for them as they could not travel in and out of the villages during the week of the campaign due to lack of fuel. U.N. OCHA
Spotlight on Covid-19 Campaigns
Thanks to a new WHO supply process introduced in January, African countries will be able to ramp up their Covid-19 vaccination campaigns dramatically. Previously, WHO sent vaccine doses as they became available, but countries can now request specific quantities and specific delivery timeframes directly from the U.N. health agency. As a result, some African nations—including Kenya, the Ivory Coast, and Ghana—have been able to significantly accelerate vaccination efforts in a short period. To date, only about 16% of Africans have received at least one dose, compared to well over 50% of people in every other continent. NYT
Afghanistan reported a sharp rise in measles cases last month, with cases increasing 40% in the last week of January. More than 35,300 suspected cases and 156 deaths have been reported in the country from January 2021-January 2022. WHO is planning a large outbreak response campaign—“which will start in May, or earlier if possible”—to reach more than 3 million children nationwide. VOA
Yemen launched the first phase of a polio vaccination drive on February 19, targeting 2.4 million children under age 10. During the six-day campaign, over 12,000 health workers will go door to door in residential areas, nurseries, and schools to administer polio drops to children in 12 governorates. The second phase is scheduled for March, and the third phase for after Ramadan (which ends the first week of May). WHO Yemen; The National
Ukraine launched a three-week polio vaccination catch-up campaign on February 1, aiming to reach children ages 6 months to 6 years who missed routine polio doses. The first stage of the outbreak response campaign is expected to reach nearly 140,000 children with inactivated polio vaccine (IPV). In the second stage—dates still to be determined—all children under age 6 will be vaccinated with oral polio vaccine (OPV). The country declared a polio outbreak in October 2021. GPEI
Pakistan launched its first national polio vaccination campaign of the year on February 23, aiming to reach more than 43 million children under age 5. The campaign kicked off a few days earlier, on February 21, in six districts of south Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) to ensure extensive focus and monitoring in the high-priority area. During the nationwide effort, 339,521 health workers will go house to house to administer vaccines. On January 27, Pakistan marked a significant milestone of no wild polio cases reported in the past 12 months, although it remains in the environment in certain districts of KP. Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme
Zambia began an oral cholera vaccination campaign on February 14, aiming to vaccinate 1,038,000 people ages 1 and older in its capital, Lusaka. The drive follows up vaccination campaigns conducted in seven of the 11 cholera-prone districts in the country. The Zambian minister of health said the campaign’s overall objective was to vaccinate 85% of people in the cholera-prone districts. CGTN
South Sudan is undertaking a preventative oral cholera vaccination campaign in high-risk areas affected by floods. The first round began on January 25 in Rubkona and the Bentiu internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Unity state, reaching over 200,000 people. The second round is scheduled to take place in mid-February, targeting cholera hotspot countries in Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, Jonglei, Lakes, Unity, Upper Nile, and Warrap states. With support from Gavi, a total of 2.9 million OCV doses have been secured for the immunization drive. WHO AFRO
India’s Odisha state began a phased mass drug administration (MDA) of DEC and albendazole to eliminate lymphatic filariasis in 15 endemic districts. Phase 1—conducted February 10-19—reached eight districts: Angul, Baleswar, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Ganjam, Jharsuguda, Nayagarh, and Nuapada. During the campaign, around 55,554 trained volunteers, including accredited social health activists (ASHAs), visited every household in the districts to administer the drugs. The seven districts undertaking MDA in the second phase—scheduled for March 7-16—include Bargarh, Kandhamal, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Sambalpur, Subarnapur, and Sundargarh. The Pioneer; OdishaDiary
The Netherlands kicked off an HPV vaccination campaign last month for all children ages 10 and older, regardless of gender. The country’s health ministry used to offer the vaccine only to girls ages 13 and older but expanded the eligibility in response to research showing that HPV can cause cancer in boys and men, as well as due to efforts to create herd immunity. NL Times; RIVM
Kenya’s Kajiado county conducted a mass drug administration against trachoma in January, reaching 64,245 people in the Kajiado Central, East, West, and South subcounties. MDA and treatment delivery focused on public institutions and homes during the weeklong exercise. Kenya News Agency
South Africa’s Gauteng province launched the first round of a school-based HPV vaccination campaign on February 14, targeting girls ages 9 and older in all public primary schools. The campaign—which will take place through March 31—will also offer health education, catch-up immunizations, deworming, and other health assessments. The Citizen; The South African
On February 24, the United Nations condemned the killing of eight members of polio vaccination teams in Afghanistan, the first such attacks since nationwide immunization campaigns resumed last November. The U.N. immediately suspended campaigns in Kunduz and Takhar provinces in the wake of the violence, which occurred in four separate locations in the northern part of the country. One member of the vaccination transit team was killed in Taloqan district in Takhar province, while four members of house-to-house teams were murdered in two separate incidents in Kunduz city, and two vaccinators and a social mobilizer were killed in the Emamsaheb district of Kunduz province. U.N.
Spotlight on MNTE Campaigns
The Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination initiative targets 12 remaining endemic countries for tetanus elimination. Despite challenges posed by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, MNTE campaign activities are progressing:
- Central African Republic: Successful first and second rounds completed in 2021 targeting 1.7 million women of reproductive age (WRA). The third round will be conducted in the second quarter of 2022.
- Guinea: Third round conducted in 14 districts in January. Some 1.2 million WRA received three doses of Td vaccine out of a target population of 1.4 million, representing a coverage rate of 90%. The country is now eligible for pre-validation.
- Mali: Completed two recommended corrective rounds in 2020 in 14 high-risk districts of northern regions with coverage above 80%.
- Nigeria: Planning a third round in Niger and Zamfara—targeting 965,501 WRA—the only two states in North-West and North-Central that were unable to carry out SIAs in 2021. TTCV rounds will commence in the North East Zone (NEZ) in first quarter of 2022, aiming to reach 1.5 million WRA.
- Pakistan: First round will be conducted in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) in the first quarter of 2022, aiming to reach 2.3 million WRA. The third round in Gilgit Baltistan will be conducted in first quarter of 2022, targeting 230,764 WRA. There are also plans for rounds in KP and KP Tribal Districts.
- Papua New Guinea: No 2022 SIA dates yet.
- South Sudan: Third round being planned for the end of February, with a target population of 1.2 million WRA.
- Sudan: Currently planning targeted mop-up campaigns.
- Yemen: Third round being planned for the end of February, aiming to reach 429,462 WRA.
Challenges remain with the following campaign delays:
- Afghanistan: Delays due to Covid-19, polio (WPV1 and cVDPV) outbreaks, and insecurity.
- Angola: Delays due to Covid-19, polio (cVDPV) outbreaks, and measles follow-up SIAs.
- Somalia: Delays due to insecurity and access challenges.