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 disease outbreaks, including in diseases previously controlled or eliminated, and jeopardize disease control efforts.
Key Evidence: 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 per million 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.
Key Evidence: 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).
Key Evidence: 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.
Immunization globally provides a key opportunity to control emerging disease outbreaks and prevent the spread of disease across national borders.
Key Evidence: Conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean Region impacted health infrastructure and compromised the success of the region’s measles elimination goal. At the same time that rates of migration and displacement skyrocketed, the number of measles cases in the region doubled, from 10,072 cases in 2010 to 20,898 in 2015.
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.