Globally, immunization is recognized as the most successful and cost-effective health intervention. Despite this, not all eligible individuals have access to immunization services, putting them at risk of illness, disability, and death. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers polio a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Ongoing polio eradication efforts are guided by the Polio Endgame Strategy 2019-2023 which seeks to address ongoing risks, leverage best practices and promote innovations to achieve and sustain wild polio virus eradication and stop outbreaks of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV). Measles and rubella have also attracted global attention due to the highly infectious nature, and associated congenital defects respectively. The burden of both diseases is still significant: as of November 2019, a total of 413,308 confirmed measles cases were reported to WHO, with 250,270 suspected cases in sub-Saharan Africa.
This project seeks to support polio eradication, measles and rubella elimination and other VPD control efforts in Africa, with a focus on workforce development, immunization systems strengthening and outbreak response.
Our overriding strategy will be to promote country ownership through continued engagement with Ministries of Heath and their relevant departments such as national EPI teams at every stage of project implementation. Additionally, we will build on our existing partnerships with national and multi-lateral agencies such as CDC/GID, WHO, UNICEF and other donor agencies to ensure coordination and avoid duplication of efforts for maximum impact. We will also continue to rely heavily on our member FETPs to provide us with residents and/or graduates to lead and participate in field activities.
The overall anticipated impact of the project is a polio-free status in Africa, and reduced morbidity and mortality from measles and rubella.