Measles vaccination: reaching every child

With only 22% of children fully vaccinated before their first birthday, Chad has one of the lowest immunization coverage in the world. In a context marked by difficult access to health care and enduring beliefs preventing vaccination, the work of community leaders and mobilizers is key to changing behaviors and improving survival of children.

UNICEF Chad-2017-Belmir-3

Vaccination against measles is an injectable vaccine and its organization requires time, human resources, substantial material and funds. In addition, Chad is a vast country (1,284,000km2) with many logistical challenges. So for better quality and to maximize coverage of the campaign, Chad was divided into two blocks. In November 2016, the first block of the campaign was organized in 14 regions comprising 73 most-at-risk health districts. In March 2017, the second block of the campaign was organized in 30 health districts troughout 9 regions.

UNICEF Chad-2017-Belmir-1

“When planning for a mass vaccination campaign against Measles, we make sure that the message about the day and time of vaccination is disseminated through several channels: at the mosque, on markets…wherever women are, because we know that they will be the ones bringing their children to get vaccinated. We try to involve as many people as possible.” Mahmat Abali, Mani’s “Chef de carré” (chief of a section) of the village, comprised of several houses.

UNICEF Chad-2017-Belmir-6

“We organize educative talks every month in our community. So when a mass Measles vaccination campaign is planned, we make sure that it is part of those talks. In parallel to the actions of Imams, “chefs de carrés” (chief of a section in a village, comprised of several houses) and “crieurs”, us, community mobilizers, also go to each and every house to talk to mothers and count children.” Mathieu Guigabe, community mobilizers in Mani for the past 4 years.

UNICEF Chad-2017-Belmir-5

“The Guité Health Center is always full. Inhabitants of the village come here for their regular health-related problems such as infants having fever or tooth aches. But when a mass vaccination campaign is planned, it gets even busier here.” Mahamat Idriss, in charge of the Guité Health Center.

UNICEF Chad-2017-Belmir-2

“The Guité Health Center is always full. Inhabitants of the village come here for their regular health-related problems such as infants having fever or tooth aches. But when a mass vaccination campaign is planned, it gets even busier here.” Mahamat Idriss, in charge of the Guité Health Center.

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Measles has been one of the leading causes of death among young children in Chad. Since 2016 thanks to Gavi’s support, UNICEF has been able to organized two measles campaigns in Chad. Through the last 2 campaigns of November 2016 and March 2017, 3,044,638 children aged 9 to 59 months were vaccinated, helping improving collective immunity of children. Two measles campaigns have already been scheduled in January and February 2018.

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