Posts tagged vaccination

Photo by Yann Libessart After a year of negotiations to get the lifesaving pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) at a reduced price in Yida refugee camp, South Sudan, MSF is finally starting the vaccination campaign there. Unfortunately, the delays have pushed the campaign into the logistically challenging rainy season; but this will be the first time PCV has ever been used in South Sudan. Read more

Photo by Yann Libessart
After a year of negotiations to get the lifesaving pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) at a reduced price in Yida refugee camp, South Sudan, MSF is finally starting the vaccination campaign there. Unfortunately, the delays have pushed the campaign into the logistically challenging rainy season; but this will be the first time PCV has ever been used in South Sudan. Read more

Photo: If not treated on time, measles-affected children often develop severe medical complications, such as respiratory infections and malnutrition. DRC 2013 © Tristan Pfund/MSF
Measles Continues to Stalk the DRC
This past December, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) issued an alert about a measles epidemic in northern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s Equateur and Orientale provinces, trying to draw attention to the situation and the lack of resources available to health personnel responding to the emergency. Two months later, however, the measles epidemic is still afflicting tens of thousands of children in the area. The disease is extremely contagious and can spread quickly in countries like DRC that have large gaps in their health care systems. The effects can de devastating. Measles leads to serious medical complications in patients. Mortality can reach up to 15 percent, or even as high as 25 percent in extreme instances. Since March 2012, MSF has treated more than 18,500 patients and vaccinated more than 440,000 children, but it is clear that many more need assistance. “We see lots of small, recently dug graves along the roads,” says Nathalie Gielen, manager of an MSF team returning from Djolu health zone in Equateur. “We counted 35 dead in one village. A father told us that he had lost seven children in three weeks. Traveling from village to village, we hear just one word: measles. People are frightened and hopeless. They’re asking for help.”

Photo: If not treated on time, measles-affected children often develop severe medical complications, such as respiratory infections and malnutrition. DRC 2013 © Tristan Pfund/MSF

Measles Continues to Stalk the DRC

This past December, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) issued an alert about a measles epidemic in northern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s Equateur and Orientale provinces, trying to draw attention to the situation and the lack of resources available to health personnel responding to the emergency. Two months later, however, the measles epidemic is still afflicting tens of thousands of children in the area. The disease is extremely contagious and can spread quickly in countries like DRC that have large gaps in their health care systems. The effects can de devastating. Measles leads to serious medical complications in patients. Mortality can reach up to 15 percent, or even as high as 25 percent in extreme instances. Since March 2012, MSF has treated more than 18,500 patients and vaccinated more than 440,000 children, but it is clear that many more need assistance. “We see lots of small, recently dug graves along the roads,” says Nathalie Gielen, manager of an MSF team returning from Djolu health zone in Equateur. “We counted 35 dead in one village. A father told us that he had lost seven children in three weeks. Traveling from village to village, we hear just one word: measles. People are frightened and hopeless. They’re asking for help.”

Photo: Patients in South Kivu wait to receive measles vaccinations in a 2010 MSF mass immunization campaign. DRC 2010 © Haavar Karlsen.
65,000 Children Vaccinated Against Measles in DRC’s South Kivu
In the past month, MSF teams in the Bunyakiri region of Democratic Republic of Congo's South Kivu Province have vaccinated more than 65,000 children aged 6 months to 15 years against measles. The campaign had to be briefly suspended in the north of the region due to the volatile security situation in an area where several armed groups are present and fighting is frequent.

Photo: Patients in South Kivu wait to receive measles vaccinations in a 2010 MSF mass immunization campaign. DRC 2010 © Haavar Karlsen.

65,000 Children Vaccinated Against Measles in DRC’s South Kivu

In the past month, MSF teams in the Bunyakiri region of Democratic Republic of Congo's South Kivu Province have vaccinated more than 65,000 children aged 6 months to 15 years against measles. The campaign had to be briefly suspended in the north of the region due to the volatile security situation in an area where several armed groups are present and fighting is frequent.

These people had so little for themselves yet they were giving us what little they had.
Angie is touched by local people’s generosity when her team have to alter their vaccination plans due to local insecurity issues. Angie is a doctor working with MSF in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. Please leave your questions and comments for Angie in the comments box below her blog post.
Vaccinating Against Cholera in Guinea

More than 170,000 people in the Boffa region of Guinea recently became the first in Africa to receive a new two-dose oral vaccine for cholera, said MSF, which led the vaccination campaign.

The initiative, MSF said, could spur an improved response to cholera epidemics worldwide. In collaboration with the Guinean Ministry of Health, MSF focused its response on Boffa, a coastal region near Conakry, which was considered a hotspot of the epidemic.

“We were faced with an outbreak and we wanted first to protect people by vaccinating them, and to limit the spread of cholera,” said Dr. Dominique Legros, MSF’s innovation initiative manager in Geneva. “MSF is regularly involved in responding to cholera outbreaks and it is always difficult to control the disease. Because cholera evolves quickly, oral vaccination provides us with a new tool to try to contain [it]. If we can control the most active spots, we can reduce the spread of cholera.”Photo: An MSF patient takes a dose of the new oral cholera vaccine in Guinea.
Guinea 2012 © David Di Lorenzo

Vaccinating Against Cholera in Guinea

More than 170,000 people in the Boffa region of Guinea recently became the first in Africa to receive a new two-dose oral vaccine for cholera, said MSF, which led the vaccination campaign.

The initiative, MSF said, could spur an improved response to cholera epidemics worldwide. In collaboration with the Guinean Ministry of Health, MSF focused its response on Boffa, a coastal region near Conakry, which was considered a hotspot of the epidemic.

“We were faced with an outbreak and we wanted first to protect people by vaccinating them, and to limit the spread of cholera,” said Dr. Dominique Legros, MSF’s innovation initiative manager in Geneva. “MSF is regularly involved in responding to cholera outbreaks and it is always difficult to control the disease. Because cholera evolves quickly, oral vaccination provides us with a new tool to try to contain [it]. If we can control the most active spots, we can reduce the spread of cholera.

Photo: An MSF patient takes a dose of the new oral cholera vaccine in Guinea. Guinea 2012 © David Di Lorenzo

New Global Vaccine Strategy Glosses Over Basic Immunization Gaps

A new, ten-year, multi-billion dollar action plan for global vaccination may fail to deliver if it does not directly address the weaknesses in routine immunization programs. Nineteen million children are being missed each year and this challenge must be explicitly addressed,MSF said today.

A “Global Vaccines Action Plan” has been designed to implement the “Decade of Vaccines” project and will be considered by health ministers gathering next week in Geneva for the 65th World Health Assembly. MSF welcomed the increased emphasis on vaccines stimulated by the “Decade of Vaccines” but expressed concern that some key challenges are being glossed over.

“The Global Vaccine Action Plan works on the assumption that basic vaccination programs are going well, and that’s just not the reality in many places where we work,” said Dr. Estrella Lasry of MSF. “Focusing on the newest vaccines without boosting existing systems is not a strategy that will benefit the most children: we can’t just keep piling on new vaccines and fail to get the basics right.”Photo:South Sudan 2011 © Avril Benoit/MSF
An MSF staff member vaccinates a child against measles in Abathok.

New Global Vaccine Strategy Glosses Over Basic Immunization Gaps

A new, ten-year, multi-billion dollar action plan for global vaccination may fail to deliver if it does not directly address the weaknesses in routine immunization programs. Nineteen million children are being missed each year and this challenge must be explicitly addressed,MSF said today.

A “Global Vaccines Action Plan” has been designed to implement the “Decade of Vaccines” project and will be considered by health ministers gathering next week in Geneva for the 65th World Health Assembly. MSF welcomed the increased emphasis on vaccines stimulated by the “Decade of Vaccines” but expressed concern that some key challenges are being glossed over.

The Global Vaccine Action Plan works on the assumption that basic vaccination programs are going well, and that’s just not the reality in many places where we work,” said Dr. Estrella Lasry of MSF. “Focusing on the newest vaccines without boosting existing systems is not a strategy that will benefit the most children: we can’t just keep piling on new vaccines and fail to get the basics right.”

Photo:South Sudan 2011 © Avril Benoit/MSF
An MSF staff member vaccinates a child against measles in Abathok.

For First Time in Africa, MSF Responds to Cholera Outbreak in Guinea With Mass Vaccination Campaign

After a cholera epidemic broke out in Guinea,  MSF
began a mass vaccination campaign, the first time the organization has done so in Africa. At present, teams are vaccinating more than 150,000 people in the Boffa region, near the capital of Conakry, using an oral vaccine designed to protect those who take it from contracting the disease. The first two phases of this campaign began on April 18.

“The epidemic in Guinea was declared in February and Boffa Prefecture is currently where we are seeing the largest active outbreak,” said Charles Gaudry, head of mission for MSF in Guinea. “Since the beginning of the epidemic, 152 cases of cholera and six deaths have been reported. We aim to vaccinate around 155,000 people.”Photo: Guinea 2012 © MSF
MSF staff delivering the cholera vaccine in Boffa Prefecture

For First Time in Africa, MSF Responds to Cholera Outbreak in Guinea With Mass Vaccination Campaign

After a cholera epidemic broke out in Guinea, MSF began a mass vaccination campaign, the first time the organization has done so in Africa. At present, teams are vaccinating more than 150,000 people in the Boffa region, near the capital of Conakry, using an oral vaccine designed to protect those who take it from contracting the disease. The first two phases of this campaign began on April 18.

“The epidemic in Guinea was declared in February and Boffa Prefecture is currently where we are seeing the largest active outbreak,” said Charles Gaudry, head of mission for MSF in Guinea. “Since the beginning of the epidemic, 152 cases of cholera and six deaths have been reported. We aim to vaccinate around 155,000 people.”

Photo: Guinea 2012 © MSF
MSF staff delivering the cholera vaccine in Boffa Prefecture

Chad Facing Malnutrition and Meningitis Emergencies

Severe acute malnutrition in parts of Chad has reached emergency levels, requiring immediate life-saving interventions, the international medical humanitarian organization MSF said today.

Nutrition assessments carried out by MSF have revealed alarming levels of malnutrition among children in multiple districts of the country. An expanding meningitis outbreak in Chad is also threatening the population and requires an urgent response.

“We can see clearly that in some parts of Chad there are already very alarming rates of malnutrition among children,” said Dr. Kodjo Edoh, MSF’s head of mission in Chad. “We are concerned that this situation might also be affecting other districts in the country and we urge the Chadian government and humanitarian agencies to investigate and act.”The discovered rates are of great concern because the month of February normally features the lowest malnutrition rates of the year. A considerable deterioration has taken place since UNICEF collected data in the same region in August and September 2011, which showed 4.6 percent for severe malnutrition and 18 percent for global.Chad 2011 © Marja Scholten
MSF staff carrying out a meningitis vaccination campaign in December 2011, using the MenAfriVac vaccine, which protects for far longer than other meningitis vaccines

Chad Facing Malnutrition and Meningitis Emergencies

Severe acute malnutrition in parts of Chad has reached emergency levels, requiring immediate life-saving interventions, the international medical humanitarian organization MSF said today.

Nutrition assessments carried out by MSF have revealed alarming levels of malnutrition among children in multiple districts of the country. An expanding meningitis outbreak in Chad is also threatening the population and requires an urgent response.

We can see clearly that in some parts of Chad there are already very alarming rates of malnutrition among children,” said Dr. Kodjo Edoh, MSF’s head of mission in Chad. “We are concerned that this situation might also be affecting other districts in the country and we urge the Chadian government and humanitarian agencies to investigate and act.”

The discovered rates are of great concern because the month of February normally features the lowest malnutrition rates of the year. A considerable deterioration has taken place since UNICEF collected data in the same region in August and September 2011, which showed 4.6 percent for severe malnutrition and 18 percent for global.

Chad 2011 © Marja Scholten MSF staff carrying out a meningitis vaccination campaign in December 2011, using the MenAfriVac vaccine, which protects for far longer than other meningitis vaccines

Somalia: Measles Takes its TollMeasles is sweeping unchecked through parts of southern Somalia. The disease is highly contagious and unvaccinated children are at great risk, especially if they are also malnourished. The war in southern Somalia is a key factor contributing to ongoing widespread malnutrition, low vaccination coverage, and lack of access to health care services. All of these factors aggravate the spread and severity of diseases like measles.

In some Doctors Without Borders programs, the number of measles cases has sharply increased in recent days and weeks. Many patients arrive in severe condition.

“Over the last weeks, we diagnosed and treated over 300 patients for measles—mainly children—in the towns of Haramka and Marere in Lower Juba Valley,” said Silvia Colona, Doctors Without Borders’s project coordinator for southern Somalia. “We also set up a measles treatment unit in the city of Kismayo last week, and it filled up immediately with critically ill children.”Somalia 2011 © Martina Bacigalupo
A four-year-old boy suffering from measles and malnutrition waits for his medicine in Banadir hospital in Mogadishu.

Somalia: Measles Takes its Toll

Measles is sweeping unchecked through parts of southern Somalia. The disease is highly contagious and unvaccinated children are at great risk, especially if they are also malnourished. The war in southern Somalia is a key factor contributing to ongoing widespread malnutrition, low vaccination coverage, and lack of access to health care services. All of these factors aggravate the spread and severity of diseases like measles.

In some Doctors Without Borders programs, the number of measles cases has sharply increased in recent days and weeks. Many patients arrive in severe condition.

“Over the last weeks, we diagnosed and treated over 300 patients for measles—mainly children—in the towns of Haramka and Marere in Lower Juba Valley,” said Silvia Colona, Doctors Without Borders’s project coordinator for southern Somalia. “We also set up a measles treatment unit in the city of Kismayo last week, and it filled up immediately with critically ill children.”

Somalia 2011 © Martina Bacigalupo
A four-year-old boy suffering from measles and malnutrition waits for his medicine in Banadir hospital in Mogadishu.

An MSF measles vaccination campaign in Niger.

Niger 2008 © Nico Heijenberg / MSF

From the report Giving Developing Countries the Best Shot: An Overview of Vaccine Access and R&D

An MSF measles vaccination campaign in Niger.

Niger 2008 © Nico Heijenberg / MSF

From the report Giving Developing Countries the Best Shot: An Overview of Vaccine Access and R&D

The report shows that because of the fundamental nature of the vaccine market, it still takes years for expensive new vaccines developed for wealthy countries to reach children across the developing world, and that products emerging from the research pipeline are often insufficiently adapted to developing country needs and conditions.
Dr. Tido von Schoen-Angerer, director of the MSF Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines on the report released by MSF and Oxfam, Giving Developing Countries the Best Shot: An Overview of Vaccine Access and R&D