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Apr 12, 2022   |   Blog Post

Vaccinodromes tour: Improving COVID-19 vaccination rates in Kinshasa – Part Two: Kalamu

By Kat Tillman

Director, Communications

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, less than one percent of the population is vaccinated against COVID-19 even though it began its vaccination campaign in April 2021. In order to improve the results, in November VillageReach started supporting the Congolese government to vaccinate a large number of people through the vaccinodromes launched in four areas of Kinshasa, which include Gombe, Kalamu, Masina and N’djili. The overall goal of the initiative is to ensure the accessibility and availability of vaccines, bringing them closer to where people live and work.  

Join us through this photo series as we go through a high-level tour of the sites.

Vaccinodrome at Place des Artistes

The vaccinodrome at Place des Artistes is situated in the vibrant community of Kalamu. It is at the center of the plaza known for celebrating Kinshasa’s artists, since the vaccination site is situated near the statues of Franco Luambo, a renowned Congolese singer, and the carving of outstretched hands called “Mains d’Artistes.” As we saw in our first vaccinodrome tour at Place des Evolues, each site is designed with its environment in mind – and with this lively hub, community health workers and other members of the community play a role with encouraging people to stop in to get their vaccine. Learn more about the vaccinodrome deployments here.

While there are banners displayed in French that reflect the national language of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) surrounding the site, banners are displayed in Lingala to reflect the dominant language of the community.

Given the circular nature of the location, the layout is set up like a train where the client enters on one end, proceeds to walk down the various sections of the train leading to the very end where the observation, data entry and recordkeeping for the visit is completed.

Here you’ll note that along the side that has the curtains are the sections where the vaccination areas are located. There are three booths that clients will go depending on the vaccine. This vaccinodrome offers Pfizer, Sinovac, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.

When clients first arrive at the vaccinodrome they undergo both the check in and registration at the same station, which is different than the process at some of the other vaccinodromes in Kinshasa.

Once they are done checking in, they wait to be called to the next step of the process.

As you will have seen from the first image of this photo essay, when the client begins down the main section of the train, they start at the room where a health screening is completed to ensure that there aren’t any contraindications before administering the vaccine.

Next to the health screening room are the three vaccination booths where clients get vaccinated with the vaccine of their choice.

At the end of the train is the observation area, which also includes the data entry and recordkeeping so that clients can set their second appointment should the vaccine selected require it.

Richard Matata oversees the vaccinodrome and ensures that it runs smoothly, also making sure that the proper amount of vaccines are always available. As part of his responsibilities, he is tasked with the goal of demand generation and managing the ongoing growth of clients passing through the site to get vaccinated in order to meet the Ministry of Health’s goal to vaccinate 45% of the population or 53.4 million people over the age of 18 by the end of 2023.

Place des Artistes is known for having many photographers in the area and people come to have their picture taken. As they are frequently engaging with passersby in the area, the site operations manager Richard Matata encourages them to help inform others about the importance of the Covid-19 vaccine.

The vaccinodrome is also the base for CHWs to go out into the area for awareness building and to invite people back to get vaccinated. Dressed in bright orange vests, these CHWs are the everyday heroes of the vaccine efforts.

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