Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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Integrating COVID-19 vaccination to safeguard lives, livelihood

The overarching issue of global health integration and safeguarding both lives and livelihoods resonates more in many countries during these transformative times. As the world grapples with multifaceted health challenges, the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) and the Africa CDC Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, set a stellar example of how to conquer the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mastercard Foundation has been at the forefront of ensuring that communities not only survive these turbulent times but also thrive, pivoting their approach to address the immediate needs of the pandemic. Embodying this ethos, the ERCS orchestrated an extensive RCCE campaign with technical mentorship from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

This campaign was inclusive, safe, and prosperous, bringing together a wide range of stakeholders, from health professionals to religious institutions and representative associations, echoing the Mastercard Foundation’s commitment to creating a society where everyone can learn and succeed.

ERCS’s ground efforts, including door-to-door communication and community engagement campaigns, exemplified the organization’s unwavering commitment to saving lives. The use of the Katikati digital platform, ensuring real-time feedback and support, is perfectly aligned with the Mastercard Foundation’s emphasis on innovation and technology as conduits for impact.

Furthermore, the remarkable results of the campaign are evident, with over 632,000 individuals vaccinated against COVID-19. Additionally, 63,737 girls were vaccinated against the HPV (human papillomavirus) infection, 340 children who had missed their routine immunization were vaccinated, and 178,191 children were screened for malnutrition.

All these underscore a pivotal message: saving lives paves the way for saved livelihoods. Healthy communities can rebuild, work, innovate, and propel the nation forward.

An integrated vaccination approach is a key strategy for ensuring that everyone, regardless of their location or socioeconomic status, has access to the vaccine. It also helps to build trust in the vaccines and the vaccination process, which is critical for achieving higher vaccination coverage.

Integrated vaccination leverages the existing infrastructure of routine immunization programs, such as health clinics and community health workers, reducing the cost and complexity of delivering the vaccine. It also allows for the use of the same cold chain and storage facilities as other vaccines, ensuring the quality and safety of the vaccines.

This approach also simplifies the vaccination process for individuals, as they can simply go to their usual vaccination clinic to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

This integration of COVID-19 vaccination into routine vaccination is an important step towards achieving global vaccination coverage while protecting the population from COVID-19.

The partnership exemplified by ERCS and inspired by the principles championed by the Mastercard Foundation paints a hopeful picture for the future. It is a testament to what can be achieved when health initiatives align with the significant objective of safeguarding lives and securing futures. This integrated approach, rooted in community, technology, and unwavering dedication, not only sets a benchmark for global health endeavors but also reiterates the profound impact of saving lives and livelihoods.

(Ada Igboanugo is a media relations manager at INDIG – Integrated Indigo Limited)

Contributed by Ada Igboanugo

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