The European Union joins forces with the WHO to boost vaccination coverage against COVID-19 in Africa
Jafarasa Sadat, provincial expanded immunization program manager, administers the last injection of the day to Jauado Alifa, a community leader in Malica, a camp for displaced people in Mozambique. ©WHO
A €16 million grant to WHO from the European Union’s ECHO (European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations) has helped to increase vaccination rates against COVID-19 in a group of countries around the world. Africa where coverage levels were among the lowest in the world.
One of the main objectives of this campaign is to make vaccination against COVID-19 accessible to vulnerable groups such as the elderly, as well as to populations displaced by conflicts or natural disasters. Support also builds the capacity of countries to carry out immunization programs, which can be leveraged to protect populations against many other diseases.
Thanks to the extra boost provided by ECHO funds, Mozambique has now vaccinated nearly all of its adults, and the other 14 countries are making progress that includes increasing vaccination rates, training health workers, development of strategies and policies and digitization of data collection systems.
The 18-month project started in June 2021 and will run until the end of this year, working in Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Liberia, Madagascar , Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.
The WHO effort is part of the wider EU humanitarian initiative for vaccination against COVID-19 in Africa, which is providing €100 million to 41 projects in 34 countries . Many other organizations are involved in the initiative, including the International Organization for Migration, the International Committee of the Red Cross, UNICEF and the World Food Programme.
In this issue, discover photos and stories highlighting WHO ECHO’s work in IDP camps in Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria and South Sudan.
Find out more: ECHO: questions and answers
ECHO Project increases vaccination against COVID-19 in North East Nigeria
In Nigeria, a community volunteer explains the benefits of vaccination against COVID-19 to internally displaced people. ©WHO
Hajara Maimuna Idi sits under a tree in Gubio Road IDP Camp in Borno State, northeast Nigeria. She is baffled by the reluctance of her fellow citizens to get vaccinated against COVID-19, even though a vaccination center is located in the colony.
“I got vaccinated because I was made aware that it was for the good of my health. I didn’t want to be hospitalized with COVID-19,” she said. “The outreach team made us realize that the COVID-19 vaccination would help boost our immune system to fight the virus.”
Maimuna is one of 43 community volunteers trained by WHO to mobilize their peers to get vaccinated. The volunteers hail from six densely populated host communities spread across three local government areas in Borno State.
Photo story: In Mozambique, WHO and ECHO partner with health workers to reach the most vulnerable
“I am very happy for the team’s visit today because some people here in the community have never been vaccinated,” said Julieta Jose, above, a displaced person in Mozambique. “This is the best way to prevent COVID-19. I told everyone I know to come get it. ©WHO
Read more: Mozambique vaccinates almost all adults against COVID-19
Data managers, immunization officers and district doctors from four provinces in Mozambique have been trained through the ECHO-funded initiative. ©WHO/J. Pereira
Photo report: In Liberia, refugees from Côte d’Ivoire step up their vaccinations against COVID-19
Bernard Manhan shows his vaccination card. The 57-year-old father of eight resides in Bahn refugee camp in Liberia. He fled violence in Côte d’Ivoire in 2011. ©WHO
Liberia’s immunization campaigns prioritize the most vulnerable: health workers, adults over 60, sick people, refugees and other displaced people.
“Our goal is to get more people in the community vaccinated. This way we will all be safe,” says Oretha Vanwen, a community health worker who administers COVID-19 vaccines to refugees and host community members.
In South Sudan, an immunization campaign involves a camp and its host community
Paul Pitia Alberto, a clinical nurse prepares COVID-19 shots at the Mangalla camp. ©WHO/South Sudan
Bornalia Kuajo Peter, a community leader from Mangalla, got vaccinated against COVID-19 in front of a crowd to make his point.
“I took one in front of you as an assurance as a deputy that these vaccines are safe, especially for older people like us,” he said. “In my area, most people are aged 50 and over, so I urge you all to come and get vaccinated.”
The introduction of COVID-19 vaccination in settlements like Mangalla saves residents from having to make expensive trips across the country. ©WHO/South Sudan
WHO thanks all governments, organizations and individuals who contribute to the work of the Organization, and in particular those who have provided fully flexible contributions to maintain a strong and independent WHO.
Donors and partners featured in this week’s articles include the European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection, the International Organization for Migration, the International Committee of the Red Cross, UNICEF and the World Food Program .
The work depicted in these stories is made possible by a €16 million contribution to WHO from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).