November 2021: Partner News Round-Up

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Nigeria ran an integrated vaccination campaign November 17-27, “the first of its kind” in the country to immunize for three vaccine-preventable diseases concurrently: measles for children ages 9 to 59 months, meningitis for ages 7-8, and yellow fever for ages 9 months to 44 years. The campaign aimed to reach more than 47 million people in 13 high-risk states: Abia, Bayelsa, Borno, Ebonyi, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kwara, Sokoto, Taraba and Yobe. WHO Nigeria

Pakistan kicked off a nationwide effort to vaccinate more than 90 million children against measles and rubella on November 12. During the “historic” two-week campaign—one of the largest in the world to date—more than 386,000 health professionals, including 76,000 vaccinators and more than 143,000 social mobilizers, will administer vaccines to children ages 9 months-15 years in health facilities, outreach centers, and schools. The campaign will also integrate oral polio vaccine for children under age 5. Gavi

In Ethiopia’s conflicted Tigray region, several vaccination campaigns have been suspended “until vaccines, cash and fuel are available,” according to a U.N. OCHA situation report on the humanitarian crisis in Northern Ethiopia. The affected events include the second round of a cholera campaign and integrated measles and polio campaigns. U.N. OCHA

 

Spotlight on Covid-19 Campaigns

Less than 10% of African countries are projected to meet WHO’s goal of fully vaccinating 40% of their population against Covid-19 by the end of the year. The three countries that have reached coverage targets are Seychelles at 79%, Mauritius at 72%, and Morocco at 61% (per recent WHO data). Cape Verde and Tunisia are on track to hit 40% coverage by year-end. As of now, all African countries except Eritrea have reported starting Covid-19 vaccinations. Even though Covid-19 vaccine supply is expected to increase early next year, WHO warned that limited access to commodities such as syringes to administer the vaccines may slow the rollout. WHO AFRO; WHO Covid-19 Data

Nigeria began a mass vaccination campaign on November 19. The country aims to inoculate 50% of its targeted population—55 million people—by the end of January 2022, despite having achieved only 2.9% coverage as of the campaign launch. To reach the ambitious goal, officials plan vaccine mandates for government employees, specifically those in federal ministries, departments, and agencies, as well as methods for combating hesitancy in rural areas to increase coverage. Reuters; Premium Times (1); Premium Times (2); Africanews

The Philippines launched a mass Covid-19 drive on November 29 to vaccinate 9 million people in three days. Though scaled back from an earlier target of 15 million, it is still an ambitious effort for the archipelago nation, which faces logistical hurdles and vaccine hesitancy. According to government data, while 93% of the capital region’s residents were fully vaccinated as of mid-November, only 10.9% of people in the predominantly Muslim regions in the south were. During the campaign, 160,000 volunteers across 8,000 vaccination sites will aim to administer 3 million shots a day, nearly quadruple the November national daily average of 829,000. President Rodrigo Duterte declared the three-day stretch as “special working days,” excusing people from work if they are going to get a vaccine. Another three-day event is planned for December 15-17. Reuters; Al Jazeera; Straits Times

WHO and UNICEF warned that there could be a global shortage of 1 to 2 billion syringes next year—the result of Covid-19 vaccination campaigns that required billions more syringes than usual worldwide. WHO’s African regional director warned that the shortage could “paralyze progress” on Covid-19 vaccinations in low- and middle-income countries, while UNICEF pleaded for more syringes for routine immunizations. WHO; UNICEF; U.N. News

 

Outbreak Response

The Gambia conducted a national polio immunization campaign November 20-23, targeting over 300,000 children under age 5. The country declared a public health emergency in August after poliovirus was detected in environmental sewage samples. The Voice; Africanews

Following a cholera outbreak in Nepal’s Krishnanagar municipality in October, the country plans to launch a vaccination drive using 252,363 doses of OCV from the ICG-managed cholera vaccine global stockpile. A ring vaccination approach will target people in the affected areas of the Kapilvastu district. Kathmandu Post

 

Local Campaigns

Malawi launched a mass bed net distribution campaign on November 11, aiming to provide treated bed nets to 9 million residents in an effort to eliminate malaria. The bed nets are expected to last for three to five years. The country is also undertaking a 36-day indoor residual spraying campaign of 539,000 eligible structures, which commenced on October 18 in Balaka district and October 25 in the Mangochi and Nkhata Bay districts. Nyasa Times

In November, Tanzania reached nearly 4.5 million residents with preventative chemotherapy for lymphatic filariasis in a mass drug administration round scheduled within three districts of the capital city. The campaign used emergency funds from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, which partially filled the financing gaps left by the U.K. government’s NTD aid cuts last year. Capital News

Bangladesh reached over 750,000 Rohingya refugees ages 1 and older—achieving 87% coverage—with the first dose of OCV in a preventative cholera campaign October 10-25. Covid-19 vaccination campaigns were paused to administer the second OCV dose in November. UNHCR; BRAC

American Samoa kicked off the third round of mass drug administration against lymphatic filariasis last month. Initially scheduled for October 18-November 18, the territory extended the campaign an extra week, with health officials encouraging residents to take the pills prior to gatherings during the holiday season. PIHOA; Samoa News

Kenya’s Kakamega county rolled out an MDA event this month to fight Bilharzia and other diseases caused by parasitic worms, following a survey conducted in September that found that soil-transmitted helminths were present in 53 out of 60 wards in the county, and schistosomiasis present in 11 of the wards. Community health volunteers and assistants supported the drug distribution to all residents over age 2. Kenya News Agency

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