Contribution of polio eradication initiative to strengthening routine immunization: Lessons learnt in the WHO African region

Systematic reviews
Diphtheria, Tuberculosis, Tetanus, Poliomyelitis, Measles
Original Title
Contribution of polio eradication initiative to strengthening routine immunization: Lessons learnt in the WHO African region
Richard Mihigo
Edna Moturi
F Zawaira
Anya, B. P. M.
Aschalew, T.
Carole Tevi-Benissan, M.
Akanmori, B. D.
Poy, A. N.
Mbulu, K. L.
Okeibunor, J.
Publication Year


Important investments were made in countries for the polio eradication initiative. On 25 September 2015, a major milestone was achieved when Nigeria was removed from the list of polio-endemic countries. Routine Immunization, being a key pillar of polio eradication initiative needs to be strengthened to sustain the gains made in countries. For this, there is a huge potential on building on the use of polio infrastructure to contribute to RI strengthening.

We reviewed estimates of immunization coverage as reported by the countries to WHO and UNICEF for three vaccines: BCG, DTP3 (third dose of diphtheria-tetanus toxoid- pertussis), and the first dose of measles-containing vaccine (MCV1).We conducted a systematic review of best practices documents from eight countries which had significant polio eradication activities.

Immunization programmes have improved significantly in the African Region. Regional coverage for DTP3 vaccine increased from 51% in 1996 to 77% in 2014. DTP3 coverage increased >3 folds in DRC (18–80%) and Nigeria from 21% to 66%; and >2 folds in Angola (41–87%), Chad (24–46%), and Togo (42–87%). Coverage for BCG and MCV1 increased in all countries. Of the 47 countries in the region, 18 (38%) achieved a national coverage for DTP3 ⩾90% for 2 years meeting the Global Vaccine Action (GVAP) target. A decrease was noted in the Ebola-affected countries i.e., Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

PEI has been associated with increased spending on immunization and the related improvements, especially in the areas of micro planning, service delivery, program management and capacity building. Continued efforts are needed to mobilize international and domestic support to strengthen and sustain high-quality immunization services in African countries. Strengthening RI will in turn sustain the gains made to eradicate poliovirus in the region.

Vaccine, Volume 34, Issue 43, 10 October 2016, Pages 5187-5192

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