Haelterman, E; Boelaert, M; Suetens, C; Blok, L; Henkens, M; Toole, M J (Wiley-Blackwell, 1996-06)
Serogroup A meningococcus epidemics occurred in refugee populations in Zaire in August 1994. The paper analyses the public health impact of a mass vaccination campaign implemented in a large refugee camp. We compared meningitis incidence rates from 2 similar camps. In Kibumba camp, vaccination was implemented early in the course of the epidemic whilst in the control camp (Katale), vaccination was delayed. At a threshold of 15 cases per 100 000 population per week an immunization campaign was implemented. Attack rates were 94 and 134 per 100,000 in Kibumba and Katale respectively over 2 months. In Kibumba, one week after crossing the threshold, 121,588 doses of vaccine were administered covering 76% of all refugees. Vaccination may have prevented 68 cases (30% of the expected cases). Despite its rapid institution and the high coverage achieved, the vaccination campaign had a limited impact on morbidity due to meningitis. In the early phase in refugee camps, the relative priorities of meningitis vaccination and case management need to be better defined.
Nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) are the main actors of vaccine delivery during complex humanitarian emergencies such as large population displacements. This paper discusses the use of vaccinations against measles, cholera and meningitis in this context. The role of NGOs in the advocacy for making new and more effective vaccines available to the most vulnerable populations is also emphasised.
Legros, D; Paquet, C; Perea, W; Marty, I; Mugisha, N K; Royer, H; Neira, M; Ivanoff, B (Published by WHO, 1999)
In refugee settings, the use of cholera vaccines is controversial since a mass vaccination campaign might disrupt other priority interventions. We therefore conducted a study to assess the feasibility of such a campaign using a two-dose oral cholera vaccine in a refugee camp. The campaign, using killed whole-cell/recombinant B-subunit cholera vaccine, was carried out in October 1997 among 44,000 south Sudanese refugees in Uganda. Outcome variables included the number of doses administered, the drop-out rate between the two rounds, the proportion of vaccine wasted, the speed of administration, the cost of the campaign, and the vaccine coverage. Overall, 63,220 doses of vaccine were administered. At best, 200 vaccine doses were administered per vaccination site and per hour. The direct cost of the campaign amounted to US$ 14,655, not including the vaccine itself. Vaccine coverage, based on vaccination cards, was 83.0% and 75.9% for the first and second rounds, respectively. Mass vaccination of a large refugee population with an oral cholera vaccine therefore proved to be feasible. A pre-emptive vaccination strategy could be considered in stable refugee settings and in urban slums in high-risk areas. However, the potential cost of the vaccine and the absence of quickly accessible stockpiles are major drawbacks for its large-scale use.
Luthi, J; Kessler, W; Boelaert, M (Published by WHO, 1997)
A measles epidemic occurred in the city of Bongor, Chad, from 22 September 1993 to 26 June 1994. A total of 792 patients were hospitalized, with a case fatality rate of 5.2%. After the epidemic, the district management team evaluated the expanded programme on immunization (EPI). Through a cluster survey the attack rate was estimated to be 29.1% (95% confidence interval (CI) = 20.4-37.8%) for the age group 12-59 months (n = 206). For this same age group, the measles immunization coverage was estimated to be 44.2% (95% CI = 34.6-53.8%) and the vaccine efficacy 9.5% (95% CI = 0-41.5%). Several flaws in the logistic handling of the vaccines and especially in the cold chain were identified. These results indicated a serious management problem in the EPI, which the district team then immediately started to rectify. The method used to estimate the immunization coverage and efficacy in the study is rapid and low cost. Also, it is feasible at the district level and permits identification of management problems in the EPI.
Malfait, P; Jataou, I M; Jollet, M C; Margot, A; De Benoist, A C; Moren, A (1994-01)
From October 1, 1990, until April 28, 1991, 13,578 cases of measles were reported in the urban community of Niamey, Niger. Vaccine coverages (one dose of Schwarz vaccine given after 9 months) in urban community of Niamey were, respectively, 63% at the age of 12 months and 73% at 24 months before the epidemic. Incidence rates were the highest among children ages 6 to 8 months and 9 to 11 months and 22% of the cases were less than 1 year old. Vaccine efficacy estimates ranged from 86 to 94% according to age groups and the method used (screening method, case control study, retrospective cohort study). The risk of transmission of illness increased with the intensity of contact with a case. Contact with a health facility 7 to 22 days before onset of rash was not a risk factor. Seasonal migrants in Niamey were more likely to develop measles. Recommendations included implementation of an early two dose schedule of measles immunization during the outbreak, vaccination offered at each contact with a health facility, radio and television advertising for measles immunization and distribution of vitamin A to all measles cases.
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