The World Health Organization has deployed 4,000 doses of vaccine along with emergency teams and equipment to the Democratic Republic of Congo to control an outbreak of Ebola, which is suspected to have infected 39 people, including 19 deaths.

The UN agency is working with the country's Ministry of Health and international nongovernmental organization Médecins Sans Frontières to conduct ring vaccinations across the affected region, where contacts of those infected, followed by contacts of those contacts, would all be vaccinated.

Though 4,000 doses have been shipped, more are expected to be sent out, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevik confirmed.

The latest outbreak is occurring in the northwest of country, in the Bikoro health zone, 400 kilometers (about 250 miles) from Mbandaka, the capital of Equateur province.

Of the 39 cases of Ebola reported since April 5, two have been confirmed using laboratory tests.

A further 362 people at risk have been identified using contact tracing, said Dr. Ibrahima-Soce Fall, WHO regional emergency director for Africa.

"This outbreak is very close to the Republic of Congo and Central African Republic. And we are taking it very seriously because it is close to Mbandaka, a city of 1 million people," Fall said, adding that there are two suspected cases in Mbandaka, and the patients are being held in isolation.

This year, the 11th International Symposium on Pneumococci and Pneumococcal Diseases(ISPPD-11) was full of these kinds of stories. Stories of hope, sorrow, and science—all from renowned and upcoming researchers and doctors in the pneumonia and pneumococcal field. They came from far and wide to the symposium in Melbourne, Australia, in pursuit of a shared goal—to defeat a complex adversary, the pneumococcus. Pneumococcus is the most common cause of deadly childhood pneumonia and can also lead to infections of the brain (meningitis) and blood (sepsis). When we refer to pneumonia and diarrhea together, it’s because they are the leading killers of children, and fortunately for us, they share some of the same weaknesses, like vaccines and clean environments.

We knew this group of experts had powerful stories to be tapped and set out to turn the spigot. What came out was not a drip, but a deluge. We collected nearly 50 stories from participating experts from at least 16 countries. They displayed their stories on our clothesline—airing the dirty laundry on pneumonia and pneumococcus for all to see.

Their tales tell of saving and losing patients; seeing loved ones battle pneumococcal disease; advancing lifesaving science; and striving to make tools like vaccines (existing pneumococcal conjugate vaccines [PCVs] and new vaccines) and antibiotics available to everyone, rich or poor. Some stories celebrate progress to date and inspire hope, others emphasise the scientific rigour of tackling pneumococcal disease and pneumonia, and some will simply make you weep.

Published in Programme management

ThinkWell has launched the findings from a systematic review of the current evidence base on immunization delivery costs (IDC) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Conducted as part of the Immunization Costing Action Network (ICAN), the review aims to answer a question frequently asked by global and country immunization stakeholders: What are the unit costs of vaccine delivery across different LMICs and through a variety of delivery strategies? 

The review considered over 13,000 articles/reports published between January 2005 and January 2017 on the topic. Ultimately, ThinkWell drew from 54 articles/reports on immunization delivery costing data without restricting themselves to a particular vaccine, delivery strategy, type of cost analysis, or setting.

A range of tools and companion products from the systematic review are now available at www.immunizationeconomics.org/ican:

  • A standardized and richly annotated Immunization Delivery Cost Catalogue (IDCC) (Excel workbook and web tool) of the data extracted. The IDCC presents 192 records which include one or more unit costs (i.e. cost per capita, dose, full immunization of a vaccine or fully immunized child, or person in the target population). In total, there are over 400 unit costs available, all presented in 2016 USD for easy referencing and use.
  • A summary report of findings on immunization delivery costs, describing the spread/scope of the evidence and the methods/reporting of the included articles/reports, including their quality as assessed by the review team.
  • An analysis of Immunization Delivery Unit Cost Estimates (i.e., cost ranges) for vaccine delivery through a variety of strategies and in a variety of contexts. These estimates of cost per dose and cost per fully immunized child pool four or more comparable unit cost findings, noting the cost range and other descriptive statistics.
  • Companion interpretive products (e.g., detailed methodology note and user guides)

The review will be refreshed at the end of 2018 and also in 2019 to reflect new content and user feedback.

THE IMMUNIZATION COSTING ACTION NETWORK (ICAN)

Led by ThinkWell and John Snow, Inc. (JSI), the ICAN is a project focused on increasing the visibility, availability, understanding, and use of data on the cost of delivering vaccines. ICAN aims to build country capacity around generation and use of cost information to work towards sustainable and predictable financing for vaccine delivery. The three-year project includes this systematic review of immunization delivery costs, country costing studies and a peer learning network. The ICAN is supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Published in Announcements