2005 National Immunization Day
Remarkable activities were carried out to vaccinate 15.5 million children under five against poliomyelitis in all parts of Ethiopia during the two-round house-to-house polio vaccination campaign. The first round was from October 28 to 31 and the second round from November 25 to 28, 2005. More than 100,000 volunteers and health workers participated in the campaign by going door-to-door throughout the country to administer oral polio vaccine to all children under five. Also participating in the campaign were more than 200 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including 96,000 volunteers from Red Cross, participants from four major religious groups, and more than 90 Rotarians and Rotaracts (43 from the USA and Canada) and more than 50 from Ethiopia.
A launching ceremony was held at the National Palace with the President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia as the Guest of Honor. Child caretakers were informed about the dates, strategy, and benefits of oral polio vaccine through the transmission of 20 radio and television spots in five broadcast languages.
A total of 15.3 million USD was necessary to conduct both campaign rounds. Funding was provided mainly from WHO, UNICEF, CDC, Gates Foundation and DFID.
Monovalent type 1 polio vaccine was used because all 19 confirmed cases identified since December 2004 have been caused by wild poliovirus type 1. One child had symptom onset in December 2004. The other 18 were infected with polio between January and August 2005. The most recent case had symptom onset on August 29, 2005.
Vaccination coverage for the October National Immunization Days is estimated at 96%. (See Table.) Independent monitoring was completed by Addis Ababa University in 93 high-risk woredas. These 93 woredas were selected because they were hard-to-reach, had low coverage during previous immunization campaigns, had low routine immunization coverage, or were at high risk for wild polio virus. The coverage for these woredas was estimated at 89% by the independent monitors and at 90% by administrative data.
Dr. Olusegun Babaniyi , WHO Representative noted that plans are already in place to strengthen surveillance, and to step up routine immunization. The Reaching Every District (RED) approach to strengthen routine immunization coverage was rolled out during 2003 and 2004. Evaluations of the program have demonstrated improved coverage in implementing districts.
The government of Ethiopia is highly committed and is using EPI performance as a development indicator. Some Woredas are replacing outdated and non-functional cold chain equipment. Additionally, the Health Extension Program is helping to increase routine immunization in rural communities.