Background: In response to CDC-RFA-GH18-1848, IFRC is submitting this application to support immunization in complex settings. We are seeking support for activities in four priority countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and the Central African Republic (CAR). In addition, we are seeking support to collaborate with CDC in response to vaccine-preventable disease (VPD) outbreaks of global importance and for special projects, as requested. Much of the work outlined in the proposal will build on current IFRC capacity developed through the IFRC-CDC emergency cooperative agreement to support polio eradication activities in 2016-18.
Work plan and proposed activities: Included in the proposal are country-specific plans that were developed in collaboration with the Ministries of Health, relevant Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs), and partners in each country. Generally, activities outlined in the proposal will be implemented by Red Cross/Red Crescent (RC) National Societies (NS) and are designed to maximize the advantage of working with the Red Cross. Key activities include the following:
1. Support key polio-eradication activities in all four countries;
2. Support social mobilization activities to improve the quality of Supplemental Immunization Activities (SIA) and the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI);
3. Foster country ownership and advocate for support of the national immunization program in each country;
4. Develop strategic partnerships to advance global immunization priorities;
5. Increase vaccine demand, ensure equitable access to and utilization of vaccines;
6. Train and deploy Red Cross volunteers to support community-based surveillance for vaccine-preventable diseases (VPD) and other priority diseases;
7. Support capacity development in low-performing districts;
8. Improve data management systems for routine immunization;
9. Respond to outbreaks of global public health importance.
Expected outcomes: Much of the work outlined in the proposal is focused on the poorest-performing districts in four of the poorest-performing EPI programs in the world. Three of these countries remain polio endemic. Expected outcomes include:
1. Polio eradication: It is anticipated the support will accelerate polio eradication efforts and that polio will be eradicated in all three countries over the timeline of the proposal.
2. Improvements in routine infant immunization coverage: Much of the work will be used to support capacity development of routine infant immunization programs in each country. Coverage will be raised through improvements at the service delivery and community levels.
3. Enhanced surveillance for acute flaccid paralysis (AFP), Measles, and other vaccine-preventable diseases: Poor surveillance at both community- and health facility-levels frustrate efforts to improve outbreak response and control priority diseases
4. Advocacy for measles mortality reduction and elimination