Routine EPI activities

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Introduction

Routine immunisation is the basis of the EPI activities. On a regular basis vaccines for measles, diphteria, pertussis, tetanus, polio and tuberculosis, are provided in health facilities all over the country. Vaccinations are given in static, out-reach and mobile health facilities. The immunisation schedule including the above vaccines stretches over the child's first year and tetanus vaccination is given to women of childbearing age.

The routine immunisation coverage in Ethiopia has not reached the targeted figures and planned objectives. Sustainable improvements in the service delivery are needed, in order to protect the Ethiopian children from unnecessary suffering and death. According to the most recent EPI review, conducted in 2001, constraints of the program are lack of supervision, high drop-out rates, inadequate number of trained health workers and inadequate supplies like cold chain equipment.


Partnership with World Vision in strengthening EPI in Afar Regional State

After a long advocacy effort a partnership between the Afar Regional Health Bureau, WHO and World Vision Ethiopia was achieved in EPI activities in the region. As a result, the World Vision Ethiopia Afar branch donated ETB 500,000 (nearly$58,000), 6 kerosene refrigerators and 80, 000 capsules of vitamin A for Afar region, Zone one Health Department for strengthening routine vaccination performance in the zone.

Strengthening partnership with World Vision Ethiopia

With strong lobbying and advocacy effort by surveillance officer in the region, partnership has been created between World Vision Ethiopia, Afar Branch, the Regional Health Bureau, and WHO. As a result, the World Vision Ethiopia, Afar Branch donated over 500,000 Ethiopian Birr (almost 58 000 USD), 6 kerosene refrigerators and 80,000 capsules of vitamin A for Afar Region, Zone One Health Department for strengthening routine vaccination performance. The donation will help in conducting routine campaign in four districts namely Afambo, Dubti, Elidar, and Mille. It is planned to vaccinate 7304 children below one year of age and 54943 Women of child bearing age. The campaign will provide vitamin A to children 6 months to one year. De-worming treatment will be provided to pre-school aged children in the four Woredas.

WHO Ethiopia provides continuous assistance to the region in disease prevention activities. WHO deploys two surveillance officers in Afar region who assist the region with disease surveillance activities.


EPI schedule

The routine immunisation schedule in Ethiopia comprises six vaccine preventable diseases, namely measles, diphteria, pertussis, tetanus, polio and tuberculosis. The vaccines are provided free of charge to all eligibles. Before the age of one year, the routine immunisation schedule should be completed by all children. Women of childbearing age are given tetanus toxoid vaccine to protect their unborn babies from tetanus. The mothers and their future babies obtain full protection after completing the TT schedule.

Table 1. Routine immunisation schedule.
VaccineDiseasesAge
BCGTuberculosisAt birth
DPTDiphteria, Pertussis, Tetanus6, 10, 14 weeks
OPVPolioAt birth, 6, 10, 14 weeks
MeaslesMeasles9 months
   
Table 2. Schedule for Tetanus Toxoid administration.
DoseTime for administrationDuration of protection
TT1At first contactNo protection
TT24 weeks after TT1Three years
TT3At east 6 months after TT2Five years
TT4At least 1 year after TT3Ten years
TT5At least 1 year after TT4For thirty years (throughout a woman’s reproductive life)

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and the Vaccine Fund

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization is an alliance between the private and public sector committed to one goal: saving children''s lives and people's health through the widespread use of vaccines. GAVI emerged in 1999 in response to stagnating immunization rates and widening global disparities in access to vaccines. International organizations, governments, the vaccine industry, research institutions, and major philanthropists collectively serve the shared GAVI objectives: expanding the reach of immunization services, introducing priority new vaccines, and establishing tools and systems to promote sustainable financing in developing countries.

The Vaccine Fund has been created to support the GAVI objectives. It provides financing to the world's poorest countries to strengthen health infrastructures and introduce new and under-used vaccines. Currently, the Vaccine Fund offers the following support to qualifying governments of the world's poorest countries:

  • New and under-used vaccines - currently hepB, Hib and yellow fever;
  • Funding to help governments strengthen their basic immunization services; and
  • Safe injection equipment in the form of auto-disable (AD) syringes and safe disposal boxes