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South Sudan strategizes towards strengthening the health systems to improve the quality and coverage of immunization services | WHO.

Juba, 9 November 2018 - To improve immunization outcomes in South Sudan, the Ministry of Health with support from WHO and partners conducted an annual joint appraisal of the country’s immunization programme from 6 to 9 November 2018.

The Joint Appraisal is a multi-stakeholder review of the implementation of the progress and performance of Gavi’s vaccine and cash grant support,  

The objective of the review was to show progress, identify challenges, highlight areas where greater national and partners’ investments and efforts are needed including technical support, required to improve immunization coverage and equity; the findings is important in informing Gavi’s decision on the renewal of its grants, and enable consideration of how to optimize its support to help improve immunization outcomes.

Vaccination is the main tool for primary prevention of disease and one of the most cost-effective public health measures available. 

“We appreciate Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, other donors and partners who are supporting the immunization programme to prevent disease and save lives” said Dr Richard Lino Lako, Director General Policy, Planning, Research and Budgeting at the opening ceremony of the meeting. Despite the efforts that have made the country polio free, South Sudan continues to report outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases due to low vaccination coverage rates; hence we need to work in a transparent and collective way to improve the coverage of immunization, underscored Dr Lako.

In South Sudan, the challenges faced by the country include a weak health system, inadequate human resource that provide  immunization services, poor access in some areas, costly operating environment among others have contributed to low immunization coverage. To address this issues it is essential that the health systems is strengthened  and use of innovative approaches are applied to improve the quality and coverage of immunization services in the country.

Some other concerns raised was need to strengthen the leadership and coordination between the EPI partnership at the national level and HPF who are the implementing partners, need to train and retain health workers and need to devise mechanisms for better  data triangulation to guide program decision.

To ensure that immunization services are  not only improved but sustained it is vital that linkages between immunization funding, national priorities, and policy formation that support immunization and health system development, are strengthened,  said Dr Olu, Olushayo, WHO Representative for South Sudan.

On behalf of WHO and partners, Dr Olu thanked Gavi and other donors for their support and  reassured them of getting value for the resources they are providing to save the lives of children and mothers.

At the end of the Joint Appraisal, Ms. Patience Musanhu, Gavi Senior Country Manager for South Sudan, thanked the Ministry of Health and partners for their commitment in improving immunization.  She urged all partners to think of innovative ways where they will work differently and demonstrate results of having immunizing more children of South Sudan.

In his closing remarks, Dr Makur Matur Kariom, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Health expressed his appreciation for the additional funding from Gavi and underscored the commitment of the Ministry of Health to immunize all South Sudanese children.

[See source article for photorgaphs]

For Additional Information or to Request Interviews, Please contact:
Dr Rachael Seruyange:

Email: seruyanger@who.int
Tel: +211921702124

Dr Sylvester Maleghemi

Tel: +211 956 779 467
Email: maleghemis@who.int

Ms Jemila M. Ebrahim

Communications Officer
Mobile: +211 921 647 859
Email: ebrahimj@who.int


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Nigeria: Polio officials exonerated over alleged diversion of vaccines, monies in Sokoto | Today Nigeria.

[November 12, 2018]

Danfulani Danbaba writes:

The Director, Primary Health Services in Bodinga Local Government Area of Sokoto State, Hassan Shehu Kamba, has debunked the alleged diversion of vaccines and undisclosed amount of money meant for polio immunisation exercise by some officials.

It was reported that a polio team coordinator in charge of Bangida Baga ward of the council was arrested over alleged diversion of oral and injectable vaccines at the ongoing polio immunisation exercise in the state.

Report further indicated that the suspect (name withheld) and some of his team members allegedly took the vaccines meant for the ward to a personal residence.

Speaking with journalists, who were on monitoring tour, Kamba said the affected officials were unable to locate their designated post for the commencement of the immunisation exercise due to bad terrain and scattered settlement of the area. He said the coordinator and six members of the team were incomprehensible of the area and decided to return to a personal residence, where they were later located.

“Initially, we were very apprehensive about the development. The team was of 15 members and eight of them were able to locate the meeting point. But, the team coordinator and six others were unable to locate the area, due to bad terrain and scattered nature of the settlement.

“After wandering for some hours in their bid to join the rest of the members, they later returned to the personal residence of the coordinator where we located them and retrieved both materials and money assigned to the team intact.”


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Nigeria: Polio Immunisation: WHO Collates Empty Viles For Accountability | Sundiata Post.

[November 11, 2018]

Hauwa Gold writes:

Sokoto   –     The World Health Organisation (WHO) is collating empty viles of polio vaccines used in Dange Shuni Local Government Area of Sokoto State for accountability, reports the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Malaw Zayyanu Muazu, WHO Accountability Officer, disclosed this in an interview with NAN on Sunday, hinting that the measure is to ensure proper accountability of vaccines.

Muazu explained that this was also to ensure that the viles cover the number of eligible children in the area.

“We are collecting all the used viles in order to curb diversion of vaccines in the local government.

“We have 11-man team posted to Dange Shuni Local Government Area to ensure accountability which will reveal if the eligible children are all immunised,” he said.

Muazu added that the number of viles received in the local government for Oral Polio Vaccines (OPV) are 3,090 while the Injectable Polio Vaccines (IPV) are 1,235.

NAN reports that a team coordinator in charge of polio immunization at Bangida Baga ward in Bodinga Local Government Area of Sokoto state was recently arrested over alleged diversion of oral and injectable vaccines.

The coordinator (name withheld) was said to have taken the vaccines meant for the ward in Bodinga to his personal residence.

The Executive Director of the state Primary Health Care Development Agency, Alhaji Adamu Romo, told NAN that the suspect was paid his dues for the exercise but wondered he betrayed the trust invested in him (coordinator).

“We gave him the vaccines, his allowance and all that he requires for the commencement of the exercise at the ward which he diverted to his personal residence,” Romo said.

The director said both the vaccines and the money have been recovered by the police from the suspect, assuring that they will follow the case to its logical conclusion.

He said that the agency had taken strict measures to forestall reoccurance.


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Does Simultaneous Administration of Bivalent (Types 1 and 3) Oral Poliovirus Vaccine and Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine Induce Mucosal Cross-immunity to Poliovirus Type 2? | Clinical Infectious Diseases.

[Open Access] [Published: 30 October 2018]

Abstract.

Background.

Inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) alone does not induce mucosal immunity. However, it was hypothesized that administration of IPV together with bivalent (types 1+3) oral poliovirus vaccine (bOPV) may stimulate mucosal cross-immunity to poliovirus type 2 (PV2).

Methods.

Cuban infants were randomized to receive either one dose of IPV (Arm A); one dose of IPV with bOPV (Arm B) at about 6 months of age or no vaccine (Arm C). Subjects were challenged with one dose of trivalent OPV (tOPV); they were about 7 months old in arms A and B, and about 3 months old in arm C at a time of the tOPV challenge. Sera were collected before vaccination and 30 days after tOPV challenge and tested for presence of poliovirus neutralizing antibodies; stool samples were collected at days 0, 7, 14, 21 and 49 post-challenge and tested for presence of poliovirus.

Results.

We enrolled 333 children. Excretion of PV2 following tOPV challenge was highest on day 7 (75 [CI 95% = 65-82%], 68 [CI 95% = 58-75%] and 73 [CI 95% = 63-80%] for study arms A, B, and C respectively); excretion decreased with every subsequent stool sampling; no significant differences either in proportion of PV2 excretion or in its duration were observed between study arms.

Conclusions.

There was no reduction in excretion of PV2 after tOPV challenge in children who had received IPV with bOPV when compared to those who had received IPV alone or no vaccine. Polio eradication program cannot assume any PV2 mucosal response with the current polio immunization schedule.

Clinical Trials Registration.

The trial was registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry and allocated trial number ACTRN12616000169448.


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Evaluation of a Hexavalent-Pentavalent-Hexavalent Infant Primary Vaccination Series Followed by a Pentavalent Booster Vaccine in Healthy Infants and Toddlers | The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.

[Open Access] [November 7, 2018 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print]

Abstract.

Background: This study assessed a pediatric mixed hexavalent diphtheria (D)-tetanus (T)-acellular pertussis (aP)-inactivated poliovirus (IPV)-hepatitis B (HB)-Haemophilus influenzae b (PRP-T)-pentavalent (DTaP-IPV//PRP-T)-hexavalent primary series schedule followed by a pentavalent booster.

Methods: Healthy infants (N=265) who had received a prior HB vaccination received a fully liquid, hexavalentvaccine (DTaP-IPV-HB-PRP-T) at 2 and 6 months of age and a reconstituted pentavalent vaccine (DTaP-IPV//PRP-T) at 4 months of age. Coadministered vaccines were pneumococcal vaccine (PCV13) at 2 and 4 months [and optionally at 6 months of age], rotavirus (RV) vaccine at 2-4-6 months, and meningococcal serogroup C vaccine at 2 months. At 18 months, participants received DTaP-IPV//PRP-T and PCV13 boosters. Immunogenicity was assessed using validated assays and safety by parental reports.

Results: For the hexavalent and pentavalent vaccines, the primary series and booster immune responses in terms of seroprotection and vaccine response rates were high for all antigens (generally >99% and >95% for the primary series and booster, respectively) and pre-booster antibody persistence was good for all antigens (in particular, 92.4% of participants had pre-booster anti-HB antibody ≥10 mIU/mL). The incidence of solicited reactions was lower after the booster vaccination (56.9%-73.1%) than the primary series (76.6%-97.4%); there were few vaccine-related unsolicited adverse events (1.9% and 1.5% for the primary series and booster, respectively), none led to participant discontinuation, and none was serious.

Conclusions: This study provides data that allow recommending authorities to consider the use of a sequential hexavalent-pentavalent-hexavalent primary vaccination series followed by a pentavalent booster in coadministration with other common childhood vaccines.


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