Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (July 1, 2022) – Today the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) along with VillageReach announced the transition of N’djili vaccinodrome operations to the Centre de Santé & Maternité Hygiène, a local health care facility known for its immunization services. The integration of COVID-19 vaccination services with routine immunization services creates a one-stop shop for protecting people and children from diseases.
In November 2021, EPI worked with VillageReach to establish a series of high-volume vaccination sites in Kinshasa to increase COVID-19 vaccination uptake. This strategy focused on the installation of four sites, known as “vaccinodromes”, at Place des Evolués, Place des Artistes in Kalamu, Liberty Market in Masina and Sainte Therese in N’djili, to be closer to where people live and work. It has resulted in the vaccination of 91,000 people in just six months, including more than 30,000 in N’djili.
The pandemic affected routine immunization and after 15 years of increasing childhood vaccination rates. In 2021 alone, 10 million more children globally missed vaccination appointments than in previous years. This new partnership ensures that COVID-19 vaccination resources are also used to address zero-dose or under-immunized children through core immunization services at N’djili.
“By transitioning our successful COVID-19 vaccination efforts to the Centre de Santé & Maternité Hygiène, we are hoping to kill two birds with one stone – allowing people to receive COVID-19 vaccination at the same time that they bring their children to routine immunization services,” said Freddy Nkosi, VillageReach’s DRC Country Director. “With this transition comes a cautious optimism that, through a concerted collaborative effort between operational partners, the government and the community, we can bolster routine immunization rates in N’djili. Now more than ever we must guarantee immunization services are easily accessible to all.”
To facilitate the integration, health workers from the vaccinodrome will pair up with those at the health facility to create a peer-learning environment on running COVID-19 vaccination services over a three-month transition period. Community health workers in the district will now play a dual role in the community – identifying zero-dose or under-immunized children aged 0 to 23 months, and also in building awareness around the availability of, and in directing people to, routine and COVID-19 vaccination services at the Centre de Santé & Maternité Hygiène. This integration builds upon VillageReach’s commitment to support the Congolese government and EPI in accomplishing its mission to make vaccines readily available to people, when and where they are needed.
The Centre de Santé & Maternité Hygiène aims to sustain the vaccinodrome’s daily average of 350 people vaccinated for COVID-19, through fixed-site and flexible outreach operations. Any eligible person who accompanies a child to a routine vaccination session can also get vaccinated against COVID-19, and any zero-dose or under-immunized child who accompanies an adult to a COVID-19 vaccination session can be referred for routine vaccination. Through the integration of COVID-19 and routine immunization services, N’djili will be positioned to improve health outcomes for children and help people stay protected against COVID-19.
VillageReach transforms health care delivery to reach everyone, so that each person has the health care needed to thrive. We develop solutions that improve equity and access to primary health care. This includes making sure products are available when and where they are needed and primary health care services are delivered to the most under-reached. Radical collaboration with governments, the private sector and other partners strengthen our ability to scale and sustain these solutions. Our work increases access to quality health care for 58 million people in sub-Saharan Africa.
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