November EYE Strategy Newsletter
As we approach the end of another challenging year, the EYE partnership would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your engagement over the past 12 months. A summary of our progress in 2021 will be published in the new year, with an outlook on our priorities for 2022.
We wish you a restful holiday season in the meantime, and look forward to engaging with you next year.
Outbreak response in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2016
This month, we focus on the EYE partnership’s efforts to bolster and improve outbreak response, in the context of a multi-country intensification of yellow fever virus circulation in Africa (additional details to come in future newsletters).
Go.Data yellow fever template for outbreak investigations
We recently launched our Go.Data yellow fever template for outbreak investigations.
Go.Data is an outbreak response tool developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) partners.
The Go.Data platform is comprehensive and free for use by Member States and partners to support and facilitate field-level outbreak response activities. It includes functionality for case investigation, contact follow up and visualization of chains of transmission.
The Go.Data yellow fever template is designed to enable rapid and standardized set-up of field data collection parameters for investigation and contact tracing during yellow fever outbreaks. The template is aligned with the most recent WHO and partners’ outbreak investigation guidelines for yellow fever, and will help in collecting and managing information from cases, including laboratory information, hospitalization data and other variables. The validated outbreak can be generated in a matter of minutes for data collection by field surveillance officers.
A recording of the webinar where the template was launched will be available in due course, but in the meantime, if you would like to access the webinar presentations and background materials, please click here.
Table-top simulation exercise on yellow fever urban outbreaks and after-action review (AAR)
We recently held a two-day table-top simulation exercise (SiMex) on yellow fever urban outbreaks, followed by an after-action review (AAR). Its objectives were to strengthen country preparedness, readiness and response to yellow fever urban outbreaks, conduct an after-action review (AAR) of the simulation exercise, and to inform the EYE partners of specific opportunities for assisting countries in running simulation exercises.
The results of this exercise will inform the guidelines for the development of preparedness, readiness and response plans for urban yellow fever risk, which are currently in development and will be published mid-year in 2022.
The global EYE strategy aims to prevent and mitigate the risk and impact of yellow fever outbreaks. It has a strong focus on mitigating urban risk. To achieve this goal, it is critical to ensure that health and non-health urban stakeholders and decision-makers are prepared to rapidly detect, confirm and respond to urban outbreaks of yellow fever, and in a co-ordinated and efficient manner.
This risk is here to stay and we need to collectively manage it. Urban risk is also an area where it will be critical to align with other arbovirus and urban malaria initiatives.
The SiMex provided an opportunity to learn from the experience of countries, which have faced urban outbreaks of yellow fever (Angola), those who have conducted a real-life SiMex and which face a continued threat (Nigeria, Lagos). It was also an opportunity to hear from those involved in the COVID-19 response, from which can inform the management of urban outbreaks of yellow fever.
Biosafety Cabinet received by the Niger lab with thanks to UNICEF Supply Division and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
Technical assistance for outbreak response
Gavi has recently made available funds to support with targeted country assistance (TCA) through WHO to facilitate the rapid detection and response of yellow fever outbreaks. The current grant is available up to September 2022 and can be accessed by any Gavi-eligible country at risk of yellow fever.
TCA funds can be used to support several activities before, during and after an outbreak, such as:
- outbreak investigation
- conduct evidence-generation activities
- development of ICG requests
- support with campaign microplanning, readiness assessment and monitoring align outbreak response activities with broader yellow fever strategies
- carry out post-outbreak root cause analysis
- assist with implementation of logistics, with emphasis on hard-to-reach areas or under-served communities
To apply for this grant, a country must submit to WHO a request specific to an outbreak or emergency situation, including a list of proposed activities, milestones and budget. The application will then be assessed for approval.
International Coordinating Group on Vaccine Provision (ICG) - update
Ghana has been given approval by the ICG for an outbreak response, which will target approximately 370 000 people. Ghana is to be commended for its rapid response, which it has achieved by leveraging its in-country vaccine stock. Ghana is one of several countries to have adopted this approach, which we anticipate will be instrumental in protecting local populations and preventing onward spread. Ethiopia, Guinea and Nigeria have also deployed similar strategies since 2020.
ICG members have reinforced the importance of rapid, localized response for any yellow fever outbreaks, and urge countries not to delay their activities until the larger-scale, second stage response. Vaccine that is used from local stores can be replenished later for ICG-approved responses.
Disease Outbreak News
Latest WHO Disease Outbreak News (DONs), providing information on confirmed acute public health events or potential events of concern. Please click on the links below for full reports..
Yellow fever outbreak – Ghana
Yellow Fever - Ghana (who.int)
Yellow fever outbreak – Venezuela
Yellow Fever - Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) (who.int)
Weekly bulletin on outbreaks and other emergencies
Still from video shoot on yellow fever preventive mass vaccination campaign in Taraba state, Nigeria, 2021. Interview with community elder. Film to be published in 2022.
Nigeria’s vaccination campaigns are underway in all states bar Ogun and Gombe, which have been postponed to January 2022 due to the timing of the vaccine arrival.
As reported in previous months, the yellow fever vaccination campaigns are taking place in Abia, Imo, Ebonyi, Taraba and Borno. Vaccination campaigns in these states will combine yellow fever and measles.
The Taraba state campaign combined yellow fever, measles and Meningitis A. We are working with a local partner to produce short documentaries on the Taraba vaccination campaigns, which will be published early next year.
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
All vaccination activities in the state of Équateur are now complete with anticipated high coverage. Community engagement has helped to boost outreach. Bloc 3 campaigns are planned for the end of February or early March 2022. These campaigns are aiming to protect over 18 million people.
Republic of Congo
The Republic of Congo’s yellow fever vaccination campaigns are now scheduled to begin at the end of February 2022. These campaigns aim to protect over 4 million people in almost all departments, except Pointe Noire.
Uganda is prioritizing the monovalent type 2 oral polio (mOPV2) vaccination campaign in January 2022, and therefore, the routine immunization (RI) introduction for yellow fever is scheduled for March 2022.
All 18 states in Sudan have now introduced yellow fever into RI. In July 2021, the catch-up campaigns were completed in the River Nile and Northern states, with high coverage.
The other states were postponed due to the onset of the rainy season and due to be completed at the start of 2022.
EYE on yellow fever podcast
The penultimate episode of our podcast series is now available. It can be accessed via your preferred app here here or listen on the web here.
Episode 9: Spotlight on Nigeria
Nigeria is a yellow fever hotspot and a big focus for EYE activity. 97 million people have been vaccinated in the country since the EYE Strategy started. Professor Oyewale Tomori, president of the Nigerian Academy of Science and a former WHO Africa virologist, says that preventive yellow fever campaigns can protect economies as well as lives. He also discusses lessons learned from yellow fever campaigns that have helped in the fight against COVID-19.
Listen to all episodes by clicking on the image above. You can subscribe to the series on your chosen podcast app here or listen on the web here.
Samples being prepared for shipment to testing laboratories, WHO Office, Asaba, Nigeria
The Gavi Board has approved $55 million for efforts by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to address gaps in diagnostic capacity through 2025. In addition to continuing EYE strategy work on strengthening yellow fever diagnostic capacity, this funding will support efforts to improve availability of fit for purpose cholera, typhoid, meningococcus, measles, and rubella test kits, building on the model developed for yellow fever.
Partnership between the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Global Vector Hub (GVH)
When the world faces a pandemic, partnerships and collaborations become more vital than ever. CARPHA and the GVH are excited to announce a new partnership in the field of vector-borne diseases and capacity building in the Caribbean and surrounding regions. Click here to read more.
Consultant - Yellow Fever Immunization and Risk Analysis
We are recruiting. The consultant will conduct a multi-year yellow fever risk assessment initiative. There is possibility for extension beyond the initial consultancy timeline, subject to performance of the consultant and availability of funds for subsequent years. Full job description and application can be found here.
A shout out to our colleagues in WHO South Sudan looking great in their EYE masks!
From left to right: Dr Joseph Wamala, Medical Officer, Emergency Preparedness and Response; Dr Vitor Paul, National Surveillance Officer; Dr Sylvester Maleghemi, Medical Officer, Expanded Programme on Immunization.
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