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Supporting vaccinations and strengthening health systems in 16 African countries

An EU-funded and WHO-implemented project helped health systems become more resilient and better prepared to tackle future epidemics of vaccine-preventable diseases.

COVID-19 vaccination coverage is on the rise in Africa’s most fragile humanitarian settings as the two-year project comes to a close.

At the start of 2022, the COVID-19 vaccination rate was less than 5% on average in the participating countries: Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, the South Sudan Republic, Sudan, and Tanzania.

That rate is now closing in on 30% – the continent’s average. 34 million people have received the two-dose vaccinations – more than 1 in 4 people across the population of all countries.

The project’s objective has been to prioritize the most vulnerable people and communities.

Crucially important for achieving this success were national health workers trained by WHO that have been administering vaccines in urban hubs, remote villages, refugee and displacement camps, workplaces, public spaces and elsewhere. The number of WHO-trained health workers rose from about 130 000 in 2022, to almost 2 million by May 2023.

Trained health workers are a precious and resilient asset for national governments and communities, as they are prepared and ready to provide an effective response to any future epidemics.

We have seen a remarkable progress in all countries, particularly:

  • Chad, Guinea, Niger, Sudan, South Sudan and Nigeria – that reached close to 40% vaccination rates.
  • The Central African Republic, Mozambique and Somalia that surpassed the 40% rate.
  • And Liberia, showing the most progress, with eight out of ten people now vaccinated.

Vaccination efforts reached close to 12 million refugees, internally displaced persons and migrants across eleven countries. Four in ten of them received a full primary series (first and second dose), and more than half of them received at least one dose. Close to 13 million people amongst these vulnerable groups were reached with awareness campaigns, delivered in their settings and in their own languages by local health workers.

Close to 26 million older people (38% of the total in all countries) completed their primary vaccine series, providing crucial protection against COVID-19.

With significant knowledge transfer, training and fieldwork, the national vaccination and immunization programmes have been strengthened in the long run.

Countries are now more resilient against COVID-19 and ready to tackle other vaccine-preventable diseases and health emergencies.


European Union funding boosts COVID-19 vaccination in Africa

Country-specific examples with links


video about the increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates in hard-to-reach areas thanks to community mobilizers and health workers. (FR version here)


photo story on Mozambique: training health workers in charge of COVID-19 vaccination in data management. (FR version here).


photo story on Niger’s community leaders fighting misinformation on COVID-19 vaccines. (FR version here). A video (December 2022), with the FR version here.


photo story showing the increasing COVID-19 vaccination in northeast Nigeria.

South Sudan

video of health workers trained by WHO with the funding from the EU grant and acceleration of COVID-19 vaccination in South Sudan. (FR version here)

Source: reliefweb