An outbreak of VDPV2 in 11 of 16 regions of Ghana in 2019 resulted in 30 cases of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) and spurred an urgent mass polio vaccination response. However, vaccination was suspended with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. The pandemic also resulted in a reduction of uptake of other essential health and nutrition interventions. A review of public health data revealed that vitamin A coverage for children aged 6-59 months decreased significantly during this time to 28% during January-June 2020, from 48.9% in 2018 and 30.5% in 2019.
Stakeholders discussed the need for a collaborative campaign integrating mono-oral polio vaccine type 2 (mOPV2) and vitamin A supplementation in order to save resources and increase coverage of both interventions. The decision was made by the national government to jointly target approximately 4.5 million children aged 6-59 months with vitamin A supplementation by adding this intervention to the second round of Phase 3 of the mOPV campaign in eight regions.
This study, conducted by Ghana Health Services and UNICEF Ghana, documents lessons learned from the planning to implementation phases of the campaign.
Motivation for integrated campaign planning was driven by the urgency of halting the outbreak of polio, coupled with the need to increase uptake of lifesaving health and nutrition services during the pandemic. These campaigns have synergies that make integration feasible. Logistically, the same cadre of health workers deliver both interventions to the same target beneficiaries at similar locations. From a planning standpoint, mechanisms for intersectoral collaboration exist through the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) Leadership and Coordination Working Group and subcommittees.
Challenges to integration included:
Factors that facilitated collaboration included:
The goal of the integrated campaign was to interrupt a cVDPV2 outbreak and increase coverage of Vitamin A for children 6-59 months.
The objectives of this case study were to: