Integrated Measles catch-up vaccination campaign reinforced the routine immunization

Benishangul Gumuz Region

By Abera Abay
07 July 2022

Fentaye Ababew is a 30-year-old mother of Tsige Yitbarek, a 22-month-old child, and two older children who have been living in Bambesi woreda Mender 49 Kebele (sub-district), Asossa zone, Benishangul Gumuz Region with her husband Mergeta Yitbarek since 2018. She has had all her children fully immunized

Fentaye is among the mothers who vaccinated their children with the measles vaccine during the measles catchup campaign, which was conducted in May 2022 in conflict-affected areas of the Benishangul Gumuz region.

 “I learned through health education that measles is a very dangerous disease that causes blindness and leads to death. To prevent it, we parents should vaccinate our children. Vaccines are important for children to protect them from vaccine-preventable diseases, and I believe that vaccines are life-saving for children,” Fentaye explains the benefits of vaccination.

Benishangul Gumuz
UNICEF Ethiopia/2022/Abera Abay
Mrs. Fentaye Abebaw with her child Tsige Yitbarek.

 “I heard the message on radio and our community leader announcing that vaccination will be provided for all children age 6-23 months irrespective of previous vaccination status.  So, I immediately took Tsige, my youngest daughter, to the vaccination post. The health extension workers asked her age and then provided the vaccine for my child. They also provided vitamin (Vit A) for her and measured her arm.

Belaynesh Yalew is a health extension worker, and she has been providing health service focusing on disease prevention and health promotion including an expanded immunization programme (EPI) for her community at Mender 49 kebele in Bambasi Woreda (district) since 2009.

“After a child has been vaccinated with Penta 3, we usually give follow up appointments for measles vaccine (measles one (MCV 1) and 2nd doses which is after 6 months from measles one (MCV 2). Many parents miss coming to a health facility, on the date of their appointments due to many reasons: they forget the appointment date, and some parents have temporarily left their homes for plowing. This affects our Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) performance, resulting in increased vaccine defaulters. But when this kind of campaign is organized, and communities are mobilized, many parents bring their children to vaccination sites. So, we take advantage of this campaign to vaccinate the under-immunized children,” said Belaynesh.

She further explained the importance of the integrated measles catch-up campaign, “during the campaign, communities are reached with messages through FM radios and TVs. These make them  give more attention to the campaign. As a result, mothers and caretakers bring their children to the vaccination post. As you noticed the campaign is not only for measles, but it is also integrated with other routine activities such as nutrition screening, Vit A supplementation, and deworming of under-five children and most importantly tracing defaulters and letting them to be vaccinated.” 

With the funding of US$ 62.4 from USAID, the UNICEF Ethiopia Assosa field office worked together with the Benishangul Gumuz Regional Health Bureau, and the community to support measles vaccination campaigns. In addition, UNICEF is providing technical support to the regional health bureau, Zonal health department and woreda health offices with community mobilization/demand promotion, cold chain management, planning, and monitoring of immunization activities. With this demand and supply coordinated efforts, a total of 38,714 children are vaccinated against measles and 4,559 children who were defaulters from routine immunization programme were traced and referred for vaccinations.