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EYE Strategy May Newsletter - with update

 

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May Newsletter 

 

Last month was the 74th week-long World Health Assembly (WHA). The theme for this year was ending the pandemic, preventing the next one and working together to build a healthier, safer and fairer world.

What does the WHA mean for the Eliminate Yellow Fever Epidemics (EYE) programme?

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance and interconnection of the triple billion targets and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and demonstrated the need for access to essential health services for all, with disease spreading along fault lines of inequality in society. 
 
The pandemic has caused severe disruption to essential health services. In his opening statement, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that, "around 60 mass immunization campaigns are currently postponed in 50 countries, putting around 228 million people – mostly children – at risk for preventable diseases such as yellow fever, measles, polio and more". 
 
COVID-19 is far from the only emergency to which WHO is responding to. More than 1.8 billion people currently live in fragile, conflict and vulnerable settings, where protracted crises are compounded by weak national capacity to deliver basic health services. These populations are also the ones that are most at risk to outbreaks of yellow fever and other high-threat infectious hazards, such as cholera and meningitis.

 
Laboratory highlights
 

Volunteer preparing samples for shipping to testing laboratories in Lagos or Abuja, at the WHO office in Asaba, November 2020
This month, we are giving special attention to our laboratory achievements, resources and events. Since the inception of EYE, the Laboratory Technical Working Group (LTWG) has worked hard to improve diagnostics, external quality assessment (EQA) and capacity building. The EYE.ops team (operations and logistics), which is the operational arm of the EYE Secretariat, has made great strides in streamlining international sample transportation at no cost to country. Both groups have worked closely with the EYE Secretariat, and regional and country colleagues, to better detect and mitigate the risk of outbreaks, improve efficiency of operations, and collate and share knowledge and data for the benefit of the wider partnership. 
Since the inception of EYE in 2017, the EYE.ops team has helped to make tangible improvements to sample transportation. Below are some examples of these achievements. 

As a result of these improved metrics, Maurice Demanou (Laboratory Coordinator, Yellow Fever, WHO African Region) and Jose Vilaplana Rovira (Technical Officer, World Health Organization (WHO)) are holding a webinar for Laboratory Directors and Technicians as an opportunity to share their experiences and learnings, to ensure full understanding of the EYE.ops mechanism, to enhance engagement and adherence, and to trouble shoot and answer questions. Further details can be found in the Events section below.  If you would like to get in touch with the EYE.ops team, you can email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Average time to confirm samples positive for Yellow Fever at national laboratories has declined
 

African yellow fever laboratory network dashboard
 

This dashboard has been created by the EYE Secretariat to provide an overview of the African laboratories, their respective capacities and accreditation status. To access the dashboard please click here.

Please note that the dashboard is an evolving, interactive tool, and this image is representative of data as of 17th May 2021.
 
Country updates
 


Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Last month, we reported that vaccination campaigns had begun in DRC. Despite initial delays to launch risk communications and community engagement at field level, there was a multi-partner effort to bolster communications and help ensure that the campaign could maximize coverage and tackle vaccine hesitancy. 

We are pleased to report that all provinces in Bloc 1 and Bloc 2 have now completed their yellow fever (YF) vaccination activities, with the exception of Equateur. Planning activities for the campaign in this remaining province are underway and are due to commence in July 2021.


Sudan

Kassala, Gedarif and the Red Sea state have completed their yellow fever (YF) catch-up campaigns, with coverage figures of between 89% and 97%. 

Additional catch-up activities are planned for Northern Kordafan and South Darfur in the second week of June, and will be YF-only vaccination campaigns. River Nile and Northern states are planned for July, and will be combined with Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) activities. Specific dates to follow.

All other states are planned for October 2021, after the rainy season.

Refugee vaccination activities in Kassala and Gedarif are now complete, with initial reports showing that more than 77,000 refugees were vaccinated through fixed and temporary sites, and mobile vaccination teams. Routine introduction is planned to move forward after the arrival of 900,000 doses of YF vaccine in 5-dose vials and devices in June 2021.

South Sudan

An update on activity in South Sudan from last month’s newsletter. The endeavour was approved by the International Coordinating Group on Vaccine Provision (ICG) and funding was provided by the African Regional Office (AFRO). Vaccination campaigns began on the 17th May 2021, targeting approximately 57,000 people from 9 months to 60 years of age, in Yei, Lainya, and Morobo counties.
 
Technical resources
 

Immunization and vaccine preventable disease (VPD) data portal

We are pleased to announce the launch of the new data portal. Within it you can find global trends and total numbers in reported cases of vaccine-preventable disease (VPD) up to 2020. These data can help monitor improvements and identify gaps for evaluation. The portal can be accessed here.

These data are reported annually through the WHO/UNICEF Joint Reporting Form on Immunization (JRF) here.

Technical resource database

Please click here for access to an excel database containing a collection of technical resources for improving immunization coverage and equity.

The database compiles tools, technical guidance, information documents and databases of relevance for improving coverage and equity of immunization services. Intended users of the database include managers of national immunization programs and Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) and Primary Health Care (PHC) technical advisers and partners. 

This database has been designed to guide your search of available resources in three different ways:

  1. Browse by topic: 6 main categories with several sub-categories;
  2. Browse by question; and
  3. Browse by the IRMMA Framework for Zero Dose. 

Each of the search options allow you to compare the different resources by summary, purpose, strengths and limitations. Please note that some resources are placed under multiple categories, but for the Identify, Reach, Monitor, Measure and Advocacy Framework (IRMMA), the use of multiple classifications has been minimized to help maintain a more targeted list of resources.
 

Meet our partners
 

Dr Robin Nandy

Dr Nandy was appointed Principal Adviser and Chief of Immunization at UNICEF Headquarters in December 2015. Prior to this, he was the Chief of Child Survival and Development in UNICEF Indonesia. Before his position in Indonesia, Dr Nandy led the Global Polio Eradication Initiative at UNICEF Headquarters from 2010-2011 and was the team lead for Health in Emergencies from 2006 - 2011. 
Robin Nandy – Principal Adviser and
Chief of Immunization, UNICEF
Dr Nandy is a medical epidemiologist and public health physician with an extensive background in international public health, particularly in the areas of child survival, immunization, outbreak response and in humanitarian health response. He has worked in several conflict-affected countries and fragile states, and also participated in a number of high-profile emergency responses.

Previous roles have been with the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) International Rescue Committee (IRC), and for the Indian government in the Republic of Maldives. 

Dr Nandy obtained his medical degree from Mysore University, India (1990) followed by an MPH at the Nuffield Institute for Health, Leeds, UK (1996). He also completed the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Fellowship at the CDC (2002-2004).

Robin has been an integral part of the EYE leadership team since the inception of EYE. His input into and advice on the EYE Strategy, and his immunization expertise has been invaluable; allowing us to shape and focus our activities where they will have most impact. At the end of July, Robin will be leaving his current role and moving to UNICEF Iran. We will miss his support on yellow fever activities, and send a big thank you from all our colleagues and partners, with immense gratitude for the part he has played in our successes. 
 

Country twinning programme survey
 

We are taking the next steps in planning the EYE country twinning programme. The vision for the programme is to enable knowledge sharing, capability and capacity enhancing across the global network and between countries. In order to this, we need to hear your views on what you need and envision from such a programme. Please click here to complete the survey and have your say. 
 
Recruitment
 

Consulting opportunity

Development of a regional EYE implementation strategic framework for WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMRO)

The EMRO
region has two YF moderate-risk countries, namely Djibouti and Somalia, with shared borders to countries that are high risk and with recent outbreaks. For this reason, we are seeking a consultant to help develop an implementation strategic framework for this region. To read more about the project and the terms of reference,
click here

For more information, or to apply for this position, please contact Dr Chiori Kadama atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Dr Abdinasir Abubakar at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

 

New joiners

We welcome two new team members to the EYE Secretariat:
Carla Jauregui
Proposal Development Specialist
Ethel Nakakawa
Epidemiologist
Carla has joined the EYE Secretariat as a Consultant for the next 3 to 6 months.  Carla will be working on a major proposal and then will be developing a resource mobilization strategy for the remaining 5 years of the EYE strategy. 

Carla’s background is in fundraising from large foundations and government institutions, such as the European Commission (EC) or USAID.  She has worked a variety of international development programmes over 20 years in West Africa and the UK. 
Ethel recently joined EYE secretariat as a consultant epidemiologist. For the next 3 months she will be working on reviewing and updating epidemiological yellow fever profiles for high and medium risk countries.

Ethel’s areas of specialization are medical virology, as well as public health. She worked in academia and research of human viral infections of epidemic potential. Ethel also worked in emergency response and mitigation, for example, as a member of the scientific committee for COVID-19 for the Ugandan  Ministry of Health. And, with evaluation of AFRO member countries’ preparedness for Influenza in the World Health Organization (WHO), Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.

 
Events
 

June

The EYE.ops webinar 'African yellow fever laboratory network: lessons learned from international samples transportation (supported by the EYE Strategy)' will be held on Tuesday, 16th June 2021 at 2pm CET. If you are interested in attending, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.t

August

A 3-day data harmonization worship
is being organized with the YF Regional Reference Laboratories (RRLs) in Yaounde, Cameroon, and will be hosted by Centre Pasteur du Cameroun (CPC)

September

A regional combined molecular & serology training workshop training is being organized for English-speaking African countries in Entebbe, Uganda, hosted by the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI)

October

A regional combined Molecular & Serology training workshop is being organized for French-speaking African countries in Dakar, Senegal hosted by Institut Pasteur Dakar (IPD)

The 7th Annual Laboratory Technical Working Group (LTWG) meeting is scheduled for Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th October, 2021
EYE mask challenge
 

Thank you for sharing your photos of you wearing your EYE masks. Please send us your selfies to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.t and we will share them in future newsletters. Here is Marie Bracquemont, a valued member of the EYE team, and a WHO Communications Officer for Emergencies!
Tell us your news!
 



We would love to showcase the work you are doing on protecting people from yellow fever. To submit your news, stories, photos and videos, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

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