VoICE Immunization Evidence
Vaccine preventable diseases and immunization during humanitarian emergencies: challenges and lessons learned from the Eastern Mediterranean Region
Conflict and migration can lead to outbreaks, including in previously controlled or eliminated diseases, and jeopardized disease control efforts.
Large measles outbreaks occurred in Lebanon and Jordan, following an influx of Syrian refuges migrating to escape conflict. In Lebanon, the measles incidence increased 200-fold in one year following high migration. There were 2.1 measles cases per million population in Lebanon in 2012; this increased to 411 cases in 2013.
Sustaining immunization activities and preventing vaccine-preventable outbreaks during conflict can be achieved through preemptive preparedness measures and concerted programmatic and financial support from governments and partners.
During the conflict in Yemen, efforts spearheaded by WHO, with coordination among partners and effective use of resources, especially GAVI, resulted in continued high pentavalent vaccine coverage decreasing only 3% from 2010 to 2015. Yemen also remained polio-free through 2015 and smoothly introduced two new vaccines (MR and IPV).
During the humanitarian crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic, the constant support from WHO, UNICEF, and local NGOs resulted in immunizations against VPDs reaching over 90% of children.
Teleb N. and Hajjej R. 2017. Vaccine preventable diseases and immunization during humanitarian emergencies: challenges and lessons learned from the Eastern Mediterranean Region. East Mediterr Health J.. 22(11):775-777.