• Measles vaccination coverage survey in Moba, Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2013: need to adapt routine and mass vaccination campaigns to reach the unreached

      Gil Cuesta, J; Mukembe, N; Valentiner-Branth, P; Stefanoff, P; Lenglet, A (Public Library of Science, 2015-02-02)
      The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has committed to eliminate measles by 2020. In 2013, in response to a large outbreak, Médecins Sans Frontières conducted a mass vaccination campaign (MVC) in Moba, Katanga, DRC. We estimated the measles vaccination coverage for the MVC, the Expanded Programme on Immunization routine measles vaccination (EPI) and assessed reasons for non-vaccination. We conducted a household-based survey among caretakers of children aged 6 months-15 years in Moba from November to December 2013. We used a two-stage-cluster-sampling, where clusters were allocated proportionally to village size and households were randomly selected from each cluster. The questionnaire included demographic variables, vaccination status (card or oral history) during MVC and EPI and reasons for non-vaccination. We estimated the coverage by gender, age and the reasons for non-vaccination and calculated 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). We recruited 4,768 children living in 1,684 households. The MVC coverage by vaccination card and oral history was 87% (95% CI 84-90) and 66% (95% CI 61-70) if documented by card. The EPI coverage was 76% (95% CI 72-81) and 3% (95% CI 1-4) respectively. The MVC coverage was significantly higher among children previously vaccinated during EPI 91% (95% CI 88-93), compared to 74% (95% CI 66-80) among those not previously vaccinated. Six percent (n=317) of children were never vaccinated. The main reason for non-vaccination was family absence 68% (95% CI 58-78). The MVC and EPI measles coverage was insufficient to prevent the recurrence of outbreaks in Moba. Lack of EPI vaccination and lack of accessibility by road were associated with lower MVC coverage. We recommend intensified social mobilization and extended EPI and MVCs to increase the coverage of absent residents and unreached children. Routine and MVCs need to be adapted accordingly to improve coverage in hard-to-reach populations in DRC.
    • 'When you welcome well, you vaccinate well': a qualitative study on improving vaccination coverage in urban settings in Conakry, Republic of Guinea.

      Gil Cuesta, J; Whitehouse, K; Kaba, S; Nanan-N'Zeth, K; Haba, B; Bachy, C; Panunzi, I; Venables, E (Oxford University Press, 2020-01-13)
      BACKGROUND: Recurrent measles outbreaks followed by mass vaccination campaigns (MVCs) occur in urban settings in sub-Saharan countries. An understanding of the reasons for this is needed to improve future vaccination strategies. The 2017 measles outbreak in Guinea provided an opportunity to qualitatively explore suboptimal vaccination coverage within an MVC among participants through their perceptions, experiences and challenges. METHODS: We conducted focus group discussions with caregivers (n=68) and key informant interviews (n=13) with health professionals and religious and community leaders in Conakry. Data were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim from Susu and French, coded and thematically analysed. RESULTS: Vaccinations were widely regarded positively and their preventive benefits noted. Vaccine side effects and the subsequent cost of treatment were commonly reported concerns, with further knowledge requested. Community health workers (CHWs) play a pivotal role in MVCs. Caregivers suggested recruiting CHWs from local neighbourhoods and improving their attitude, knowledge and skills to provide information about vaccinations. Lack of trust in vaccines, CHWs and the healthcare system, particularly after the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic, were also reported. CONCLUSIONS: Improving caregivers' knowledge of vaccines, potential side effects and their management are essential to increase MVC coverage in urban settings. Strengthening CHWs' capacities and appropriate recruitment are key to improving trust through a community involvement approach.