Successful Measles Supplementary Immunization Activity (SIA)
In the Tigray Region of Ethiopia, an integrated Measles Supplementary Immunization Activity (SIA) was successfully carried out in 76 out of 93 woredas, most of which were previously inaccessible. The Regional Health Bureau collaborated with WHO Ethiopia, UNICEF, and other UN agencies and partners to immunize over 830,000 children aged 6-59 months from 27 March to 7 April 2023.
The SIA campaign included routine immunization for previously unvaccinated and under-immunized children under two years old. Additionally, it provided Vitamin A for children aged 6-59 months, deworming for children aged 24-59 months, and acute malnutrition screening for children under five years old and pregnant or lactating mothers. The campaign also vaccinated mothers and caretakers against COVID-19.
During the launch of the immunization campaign, Dr. Abay Hagos the WHO Ethiopia Immunization Officer, spoke on behalf of Ms Marjorie Mupandare, the Incident Manager of WHO’s for Northern Ethiopia. “The main objective of the Supplementary Immunization Activity (SIA) was to mitigate the risk of measles outbreaks and prevent preventable diseases’ morbidity and mortality. The campaign was particularly crucial in areas where routine immunization and essential childhood health services were disrupted due to conflicts.”
Dr. Nonhlanhla Dlamini, the Acting Representative to WHO Ethiopia, emphasized that WHO Ethiopia would continue supporting the health bureaus to restore routine and supplemental immunization coverage, thereby curbing vaccine-preventable mortality.
WHO Ethiopia, UNICEF Ethiopia, Mums for Mums, and other UN and local partners supported the pre, intra, and post-campaign activities. To monitor and analyze the campaign’s progress, the Regional Health Bureau used Google Sheets, and supervisors used Open Data Kit (ODK). WHO deployed officers and vehicles to support the measles vaccination campaign, and independent monitors were deployed in each woreda to ensure its quality.
Advocacy and Awareness-Raising Efforts Before the Campaign
Before the campaign, regional and zonal-level advocacy workshops were conducted with representatives of sector offices, partners, stakeholders, and religious leaders. Regional media professionals were trained, and social mobilizers and health workers were oriented.
Town criers, mobile vans, and TV and radio spots were employed for social mobilization, and awareness-raising and demand-creation messages were created. More than 500 banners and 6,000 posters were used to spread awareness.
Impact and Achievements
This campaign significantly contributed to narrowing the immunization gap in the region due to the two-year-long conflict in Northern Ethiopia compounded by logistics restrictions. Moreover, a collaborative vaccination campaign conducted by FMOH, Tigray RHB, WHO, UNICEF, and other partners vaccinated over 1.2 million people against COVID-19 in the first three months of 2023. It is worth noting that the COVID-19 vaccination campaign was executed in six major towns in 2022 in the region, resulting in over 1.4 million vaccinated individuals.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO) – Ethiopia.