October 2023: Partner News Round-Up

Featured Stories

Nigeria introduced HPV into its routine immunization schedule with a campaign kicking off October 24 in 16 of the country’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. Around 7.7 million girls ages 9 to 14 were set to be immunized in the five-day phase. Over 35,000 health workers were trained in preparation for the effort, which used fixed and mobile vaccination sites. In Ogun state, around 500,000 girls were targeted with the vaccine in health facilities and other locations such as schools and markets. Religious leaders and other influential community members participated in sensitization efforts. According to Gavi, Nigeria aims to vaccinate 16.6 million girls by the end of 2025. The next phase is slated for May of next year in some 21 states. WHO AFRO; Gavi; BNN

Bangladesh kicked off the first of three phases of a national effort against HPV on October 2, aiming to reach over 10 million girls ages 10 to 14 (i.e., 95% of the population in the age bracket). The first phase, in the Dhaka division, spanned 18 days and administered vaccines in schools or designated vaccination centers. Phases two and three will take place next year, covering Chattogram and Barishal divisions in April and all other divisions in August. After the campaign ends, the vaccine will be integrated into the routine immunization program for 10-year-old girls, whether or not they are in school. According to WHO Bangladesh, the country sees about 8,300 new cases of cervical cancer each year, with 4,900 resulting in deaths. Gavi; The Business Standard; Dhaka Tribune

Outbreak Response

Pakistan started its second nationwide anti-polio campaign of the year on October 2, aiming to vaccinate 44 million children under age 5. The five-day campaign sent 350,000 health workers to vaccinate children door to door. While the country has come close to eradicating the disease, Pakistan reportedly saw at least two new cases this year (in the northwestern Taliban-controlled region), per the Associated Press (AP). According to the AP, the Sindh government introduced a bill in September that would imprison parents for up to one month if they fail to get their children immunized against polio or eight other common diseases. AP (1); AP (2); Samaa

Afghanistan ran a nationwide polio vaccination campaign September 25-28 in 33 of 34 provinces. The campaign in the remaining province, Uruzgan, was set to start two weeks later. The first phase targeted 11 million children under age 5, with those at least 6 months old also receiving vitamin A supplements. Salam Watandar

Angola kicked off the second round of a national campaign against polio on October 13, targeting over 5.4 million children under age 5 in all 18 provinces. The campaign—ending October 16—came in response to several reported cases of cVDPV1 and cVDPV2 in neighboring DRC, per Precision Vaccinations. A previous round in September also administered vitamin A supplements and albendazole tablets in areas with the highest occurrence of intestinal parasites. WHO AFRO; Precision Vaccinations

Kenya launched the second phase of a vaccination campaign against polio on October 7, targeting 3.1 million children under age 5 in high-risk counties. The 10 counties included in the five-day effort were Garissa, Kajiado, Kiambu, Kitui, Lamu, Machakos, Mandera, Nairobi, Tana River and Wajir; four of these were also targeted in the first phase (Garissa, Kajiado, Kiambu and Nairobi), taking place in August. That initial phase exceeded its 1.8 million-child target, reaching some 1.96 million children. According to Xinhua, Kenya has detected two additional cases since the six confirmed polio cases detected in June among children in Garissa county’s Hagadera refugee camp. According to an MoH official, the country is currently recruiting and training 100,000 community health promoters to strengthen response efforts. Capital News; Xinhua

Zimbabwe ran a nationwide anti-polio effort October 10-13, targeting 2.6 million children under age 5 amid a resurgence of the disease in neighboring countries. The campaign included door-to-door immunization and extended to clinics and hospitals across the country as well as strategic points such as bus terminals. The country conducted four drives within the last year (adding the last two in response to outbreaks in Malawi and Mozambique), with the latest taking place at the end of June. Zimbabwe Situation; WHO AFRO

Guinea kicked off an outbreak response campaign against polio in September after 11 cases were recorded in the city of Siguiri, per UNICEF. The first round of the vaccination campaign (September 8-11) covered all health centers in Siguiri and the surrounding districts of Kankan, Dinguiraye, Kouroussa and Mandiana, reaching 683,183 children (117% of the target) under age 5. Additionally, 3,180 children received catch-up pentavalent vaccines amid rising numbers of diphtheria and pertussis cases. Guinea planned a second campaign phase from October 27-30, coinciding with campaigns in Mali and Côte d’Ivoire. A third phase, in November, will cover all of the country’s 38 health districts. ReliefWeb

India’s Dimapur city ran a special immunization drive against measles and rubella in response to 53 confirmed cases of measles and three confirmed rubella cases. The campaign took place October 6-14, targeting all children ages 9 months to 5 years, regardless of previous immunization status. Nagaland Page; Mokokchung Times

Integrated Campaigns

Yemen launched a subnational vaccination effort against measles and rubella on September 23, targeting 1,267,082 children ages 6 months to 5 years. The six-day campaign spanned 121 districts in 13 governorates, employing 847 fixed and 2,178 mobile medical teams. A response to ongoing outbreaks and the spread of measles and rubella in the country, the campaign was integrated with Covid-19 immunization and vitamin A supplementation in fixed and temporary sites. From July to September, the country saw 413 deaths attributed to measles and rubella, up from 220 deaths recorded in all of 2022, per UN News. UNICEF; UN News

South Sudan’s Awerial county in Lakes state led an anti-polio and anti-measles vaccination effort October 9-15, targeting 36,000 children ages 6 months to 5 years. According to the county’s medical director, a measles outbreak in February resulted in over 15 reported cases. Radio Tamazuj

Local Campaigns

DRC’s Kwango province ran a vaccination effort against polio October 12-14. Amid an ongoing nurses’ strike, community members (known as “relays”) stepped in to administer polio vaccines house to house to nearly 560,000 children under age 5. Concurrently, Butembo’s provincial health division in North Kivu province ran a door-to-door polio campaign that targeted over 924,000 children under age 5; this effort came as a response to a case reported in the region, per Time News. Fatshimetrie (1); BNN; Fatshimetrie (2); Time News

Zambia conducted a countrywide multi-age cohort campaign against HPV September 25-30, aiming to vaccinate 1.42 million girls ages 9 to 14. The campaign—which took place in schools, health facilities and mobile vaccination centers—aimed to increase coverage rates: according to UNICEF, only 73% of girls ages 14 and 15 received at least one HPV dose between 2019 and 2022, and less than half of eligible girls received a second dose. The country records over 3,000 new cervical cancer cases annually, per UNICEF, of which an estimated 1,900 result in deaths in the same interval. UNICEF; Gavi

Nigeria’s Yobe state conducted an anti-polio campaign September 30-October 3, vaccinating 1.1 million children under age 5 as part of an outbreak response. The four-day campaign took place door to door and in designated healthcare facilities across all 17 government areas, and included other routine immunization vaccines. Independent; Guardian

Bangladesh’s Bandar subdivision ran the second round of an oral cholera vaccination campaign October 8-12 in wards 38 (Bandar Tila) and 39 (South Halishahar), targeting the more than 135,000 people who’d received a first dose. First doses had been given to 15,057 boys and 14,582 girls under age 5 as well as 52,777 males and 52,807 females above 5. Icddrb

Bolivia’s El Alto city held an immunization effort against measles and rubella October 17-31, aiming to reach people ages 5 to 59. The campaign, which administered 50,000 vaccine doses, was conducted in 58 health centers as well as schools, buses and public spaces, and also used mobile teams to reach remote areas. While there have been no confirmed cases of measles in Bolivia since 2020, according to La Razón, neighboring countries such as Brazil, Peru and Argentina are not free of the disease. La Razón

The Philippine city of Puerto Princesa started a monthlong HPV immunization campaign September 20, targeting 3,000 girls across 15 schools. The vaccine was administered in either two or three doses, depending on age. Fourth-grade students (around age 9) were eligible for two doses given six months apart. Almost 8,000 Filipino women are diagnosed with cervical cancer annually. The Manila Times

Nigeria’s Kwara state administered an immunization campaign against measles October 26-November 1, targeting children under age 5. Amidst high levels of public misinformation following a previous anti-polio campaign in the same state, a Kwara state health official held a meeting to educate stakeholders on the need for social mobilization. Leadership; Voice of Nigeria

Share This News Article