Strategies to Reach Zero Dose Children in Fragile States and Cross-border Contexts in Africa

Tuesday, November 15, 2022
Hosted by CORE Group and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

In the most fragile parts of the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, millions of children remain practically concealed from health systems, causing them to miss out on life-saving vaccines as a result. Over the past two decades, we have seen growth in accessibility to immunization by communities in low-income countries. Vaccinations have become routine among people with few interconnections to health services. However, according to recent data, 25 million children around the world missed out on one or more doses of life-saving vaccines in 2021[1]. Of those children, 18 million have never received a single dose of vaccines. This vulnerable cohort, known as “Zero Dose Children,” alludes to the fact that they have not received a single vaccine since birth, resulting in high under-five mortality rates in most countries. According to the latest WUENIC data, over 5.2 million zero-dose children live across 11 countries clustered in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. The COVID-19 pandemic, having a significant impact, threatens to reverse two decades of progress, and this is causing a challenge of reaching zero-dose children.   The Gavi Zero-Dose Immunization Programme (ZIP) Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, in partnership with two consortia, is implementing the Zero-Dose Immunization Programme (ZIP) to support governments in the Sahel and Horn of Africa regions to reach zero dose children and increase vaccine coverage within their countries. Through this project, Gavi is implementing a new approach by partnering with non-traditional partners such as NGOs/CSOs to reach zero-dose children in areas where governments are not able to reach due to challenges such as accessibility in cross-border settings and conflict areas. In the Sahel region, World Vision is heading a consortium of organizations including the African Christian Health Association Platform (ACHAP), Food for the Hungry, Zenysis, CORE Group and other local partners to shine a light on immunization blind-spots across Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Mali. In the Horn of Africa, International Rescue Committee (IRC) is leading a network of partners including Acasus, Flowminder, IOM, ThinkPlace and local partners, to reach vulnerable zero-dose populations in Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. In this webinar, experts will discuss the importance of reaching Zero Dose Children and how addressing the challenges in reaching communities with immunization interventions could diminish disease outbreaks and health system disruptions. The webinar will also provide a platform for discussions on innovative ways to reach zero-dose children beyond traditional government partners in fragile contexts. In addition, this webinar aims to understand how ZIP plans to ensure that Zero Dose Children receive a full suite of life-saving vaccines rather than a single dose. [1] WHO/UNICEF Estimates of National Immunization Coverage (WUENIC) for 2021     View the Speaker Bios  Watch the Webinar Recording Download Presentation Deck Webinar Q&A Sheet