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Community engagement at the heart of the measles and rubella vaccination campaign in Yemen

Community musicians performing during the measles and rubella vaccination campaign in Aden.

By Marie Bracquemont, Reports Officer and Ansar Rasheed, Communication for Development Officer in UNICEF Aden Field Office

Aden, Yemen, 20 February 2019 – In Yemen, nearly every child is fighting for survival. More than 11 million children are still in need of humanitarian assistance. The lack of health infrastructure and services makes the health situation particularly difficult and children are too often dying of entirely preventable causes.

Due to the lack of access to health centres and misconceptions from communities, the vaccination coverage in Yemen is less than 50 percent for some diseases. Through vaccination campaigns and education activities, UNICEF and its partners strive to increase the immunization coverage across the country, in order to better protect children from diseases such as polio, measles and rubella.

From 9 to 14 February, UNICEF, in cooperation with the World Health Organization and health authorities, conducted a nationwide measles and rubella vaccination campaign across the country, involving more than 40,000 health workers. The 6-day campaign reached almost 12 million children between the ages of 6 months and 15 years.

A crucial part of this campaign is the engagement with communities. This year, with the support of community and religious leaders, schools and local partners, more than 1,200 UNICEF community mobilisers explain the importance of vaccination in saving children’s lives ahead of the campaign. The activities organised to mobilise affected communities range from concerts, mobile dramas and media campaigns.

Concerts are part of the activities organised to engage affected communities during vaccination campaigns.

“I came here with my family to see this concert, I loved it. I got vaccinated at school today”, Farah, 11 years old from Aden.

UNICEF and its partners hold mobile dramas to announce and promote the measles and rubella vaccination campaign in Aden and other governorates.

Community mobilisers walk for miles to reach families in rural areas to educate them about the importance of vaccination, in Al Dhale’e governorate.

450 cars were equipped with megaphones to spread messages about measles and rubella vaccination in various southern governorates.

The population of Aden received leaflets announcing the vaccination campaign. They raised their concerns and questions to the community mobilizers during the concert.

During the measles and rubella campaign, UNICEF activities were organised with the support of the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The UK Government is a long-standing partner of UNICEF and remains committed to protect and save children’s lives in Yemen. DFID is now supporting a 3-year programme to respond to the nutrition crisis in the country. The programme is part of a wider UK Government objective to avert famine in Yemen. It addresses critical nutrition, health, water and sanitation needs, and improves the technical analysis and evidence informing the response. 



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