immunizationsPreventing disease and savings lives.
Vaccines save lives
Child mortality in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is staggering. An estimated 12% of children die before their fifth birthday, many from vaccine-preventable diseases
Vaccines are a leading intervention for preventing childhood mortality. However, a confluence of factors conspire to prevent children from accessing these life-saving measures. In many places, women deliver at home so do not access facility-based health care, where their children can be vaccinated. Other operational inhibitors include confusion or inadequate communication with children’s caretakers around follow-up dosing, vaccine stock outs at health facilities, and poor attitudes among staff, rising in part from unpaid salaries and other demotivating work conditions. In addition, in many places the lack of an effective cold chain (in particular, access to electricity and adequate storage at the national, provincial, and zonal levels) makes conducting mass vaccination campaigns and ensuring a routine supply at health facilities impossible under current conditions.
More than 200,000 people have been infected with measles from 2010 to 2015 in the DRC, with up to 5,000 children dying from the disease.
These challenges are particularly acute in the poorest and more remote areas of the country, where ASSP interventions focus: Equator, Kasai Occidental, Maniema, and Province Oriental. Most of the health zones in the targeted districts of those provinces have for many years received no donor assistance beyond what DFID has provided. The rehabilitation of the cold chain infrastructure and re-training of health providers is therefore a prerequisite to raising vaccination coverage.
Measles epidemics in particular are a leading contributor to child mortality, having raged since 2010. More than 200,000 people have been infected with measles in the DRC during these five years, with up to 5,000 children dying from the disease. Outbreaks in ASSP’s remote health zones create sizable logistical challenges, as government and donors often hear of these outbreaks after they are well underway and lack the resources to respond rapidly with vaccination campaigns.
children under the age of one year vaccinated against measles
Our Approach to immunizations in the DRC
ASSP reduces illness and death among children through vaccination against childhood diseases according to the Ministry of Health (MOH) schedule. Specifically, ASSP vaccinates annually at least 90% of children less than 1 year of age against measles, a leading killer of infants and young children. More than one million children have been vaccinated during the project, with population coverage increased from 84% to 90%.
ASSP exceeded its life of the project immunization goal, achieving 96% coverage of children under one year of age vaccinated against the measles, which exceeds the initial program target of 90% and raises the project’s cumulative achievements to over 1.4 million children vaccinated.
solar cold chains
ASSP equipped 531 facilities with solar powered cold chains.
Real-time data sourced from the DHIS2 data management system implemented by ASSP on the number of children vaccinated against measles in ASSP-assisted health areas from 2014 to 2018.
Learn more about how ASSP helped the MOH improve routine health data by implementing DHIS2 in its health zones and beyond.