DRC measles vaccination: first round ends, second round starts

After four days of vaccination, the first phase of this massive campaign has come to an end.

On Friday March 17, the second phase will start and will target the health zones of Diulu, Kansele and Muya, in the central and northern parts of Mbuji Mayi, in the Kasai Oriental Province (DRC). The strategy remains the same: a dozen vaccination sites are erected in each health zone. On each site, one or two vaccination teams operate for four days in a row.

During the first phase of vaccination, some teams moved after two days. This strategy called "advanced" will also take place in the second phase: two days of vaccination on the agreed sites and then, for some teams, two days in the zones where the number of vaccinated children drops.

After two and a half days of vaccination, the number of vaccinated children has already reached 83,000. The 100,000 mark will certainly be reached by the end of the first phase.

In terms of percentage, after three days of intensive vaccination, 73% of the target population had been covered in the Mpokolo zone, 69% in the Bipemba and 102% in Nzaba.

"This excessive number is explained by the fact that children from a neighbouring health zone, Bonzola, have been vaccinated," said Ann Decoster, the campaign coordinator. "We have to wait for results after we have covered the 10 health zones. At the moment, I hope that we will have reached 30-35% of our target population by the end of the first phase."

Elsewhere, the preparation for the next phases is ongoing. Today, the Kansele zone was visited one last time before the beginning of the vaccination by two MSF expatriates.

On each vaccination site, they met with the leader of the vaccination team, handed the plastic tape that will be used to mark the vaccination area, the waiting queues, the place where the vaccines and the icepacks will be stored. Measuring boards to determine the children’s age if it is unknown have also been located at every vaccination site.

Friday March 17, at 7.00AM, the second round of this massive vaccination campaign will start.