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5th EYE Strategy Annual Partners' Meeting - summary

 

Message from Dr Laurence Cibrelus, EYE Secretariat ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
 

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A message from the EYE Secretariat

Dear partners,  

We thank each of you for your participation in the 5th EYE Annual Partners' Meeting, showcasing another year of remarkable achievements by the EYE partnership.  

We are now approaching the midpoint of the EYE Strategy (2017-2026), and therefore, the discussions at this year’s meeting have been critical to mark how far we have come, but most importantly, where the focus lies for the remainder of the strategy.  

We were honoured to have another cohort of excellent speakers this year, and thank them for their contributions.  

Our leadership from the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance reinforced the effects of disruption by COVID-19 on essential prevention services, the profound importance of the EYE partnership and its holistic approach to eliminating yellow fever epidemics by 2026.

 
 

Dr Mike Ryan (WHO) commented on how the work and experience of the EYE Partnership, “in the area of equitable and needs-based production, and distribution of vital vaccine has, in many ways, been a trailblazer for initiatives, such as COVAX”.

 
 
 

Dr Seth Berkley (Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance) demonstrated the importance of ongoing investment in yellow fever activities, with Gavi investment of US$ 428 million to date. This has enabled tangible and rapid improvements in diagnostic capability in Africa, and has supported preventive vaccination efforts to protect around 145 million people for life in Africa, since EYE’s inception. 

 
 
 

Dr Ephrem Lemango (UNICEF) reminded us of the importance of continued and prioritized focus on West Africa, and of advocating to governments as to the importance of consistency in vaccination, to prevent recurring outbreaks in this high-risk region.

 
 

We heard from a diverse range of voices; from healthcare workers on the frontline of yellow fever outbreaks during the pandemic, to the working groups who are focused on moving the strategy closer to its 2026 vision, in the areas of surveillance and laboratory testing, vaccine delivery and supply, and risk analysis. 

And importantly, this year’s meeting demonstrated how EYE aligns to broader initiatives, such as the Immunization Agenda 2030 (IA 2030) and the forthcoming Global Arbovirus Initiative; an acknowledgement that the partnership is expanding and evolving to achieve its goals.    

We were proud to welcome up to 214 delegates per day, from over 51 countries. This included partners from a variety of fields, such as technical and financial stakeholders, academia and vaccine manufacturers.  

 
 
 

What have we achieved in the past 12 months? 

We continue to make progress in high-risk countries.  

Successes in the Americas include: 

  • Rapid outbreak detection and response, as a result of sensitive comprehensive surveillance, inclusive of sentinel surveillance of non-human primates. 

  • Rapid response, including vaccination in outbreak-affected areas in Venezuela. 

Successes in Africa include: 

  • Nationwide routine immunization introduction in Sudan. 
  • Continued growth of the yellow fever laboratory network. 
  • Establishment of in-country confirmatory capacity in Nigeria. 
  • Large-scale preventive vaccination campaigns in Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ghana and Nigeria. 
 
 
 

What are the current risks to the strategy? 

Great efforts have been made to sustain our yellow fever activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, however we continue to face critical risks, which could undermine our achievements and investments to date. These are as follows: 

  1. Active yellow fever virus circulation in low immunity, high vulnerability, at times, border areas, with risk of spread, and increased concerns about urban risk. Other Aedes-borne diseases’ outbreaks indicate potential for yellow fever risk in unprotected populations.   
  2. Further decreased routine immunization coverage, with resurgence of yellow fever outbreaks in some countries with a history of large-scale preventive mass campaigns in West Africa, and growing concerns in Central Africa. 
  3. ​Delayed campaigns and preventive activities, resulting in the persistence of risk. 

The possible evolution of risk beyond current endemic borders is also an uncertainty.

 
 
 

What do we need to focus on in 2022 and beyond? 

We are entering a critical phase in our strategy to prevent and control yellow fever, as we may expect further outbreaks in more countries, including those with a history of preventive vaccination campaigns. 

To protect EYE’s accomplishments to date, address emerging (and re-emerging risks) and ensure a sustainable path to 2026 and beyond, the EYE Strategy must prioritize the following key elements in the near future. Please note, this is not a comprehensive list. 

Strategic priorities: 

  • Accelerate preventive efforts and align with broader initiatives, such as the Immunization Agenda 2030 and the forthcoming Global Arbovirus Initiative.
  • Investigate the resurgence of yellow fever outbreaks in areas with a history of campaigns; define and implement mitigating actions in a timely fashion.
  • Document yellow fever-specific immunization challenges; boost and sustain high population protection through routine immunization, and close immunity gaps across relevant age groups. 
  • Advocate for alternate resources to empower surveillance, build capacity, and ensure outbreak preparedness in the field, particularly in view of the ramping down of the polio programme.
  • Use outbreaks as opportunities in a more strategic and systematic manner, by engaging with other epidemic-prone diseases (within the International Coordinating Group on Vaccine Provision (ICG) and beyond), to better understand the root cause of outbreaks, and support recovery actions.  

Tactical priorities: 

  • Roll-out of:urban risk and readiness guidelines, ​
  • EYE learning strategy,
  • EYE resource mobilization strategy, and
  • peer-to-peer learning across the partnership. 
Continue work to update guidelines for clinical management and improve patients’ outcomes. ​​Support the development of an EYE implementation plan for moderate risk countries.
 
 
 
 

A mid-term evaluation of the EYE Strategy will be conducted next year. As well as providing a detailed retrospective on EYE’s activities to date, it will identify any required modifications to our future plans. Further information will be shared with you in due course, and we look forward to engaging with you on this review.  

To access all recordings and materials from the meeting, please visit the Event Repository

 

We are grateful for your ongoing commitment and support, and look forward to your continued engagement with the EYE strategy.

We are partners; we all have a role to play

With warm thanks and appreciation,  
Dr Laurence Cibrelus, for the EYE Secretariat 

 
 
 
 

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