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COVID-19 Vaccine Partnership Boosts Sierra Leone’s Vaccination Efforts With $2.8 Million 

The COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership, (CoVDP), yesterday handed over vehicles including motorbikes and computers worth over $2.8 million to support the Government of Sierra Leone’s COVID-19 vaccine deployment.

CoVDP is a joint venture of the Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative (Gavi), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The items were officially handed over to Dr. Austin Demby, Minister of Health and Sanitation in Freetown, including two pick-up vehicles, 250 motorbikes, six computers and accessories, and 300 tablets with power banks.

In addition, 15 Peripheral Health Units (PHUs), and four District Vaccine Stores, will be connected to solar-powered systems.

These supplies are part of the technical and operational support that the country is receiving to help scale up COVID-19 vaccination and strengthen routine immunization services across Sierra Leone.

“It is heart-warming to receive these items from the COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership, (CoVDP). Since COVID-19 Vaccination is a vital lifesaving tool in the fight against COVID-19, this move is a step in the right direction. As Sierra Leone has achieved over 70% of fully vaccinated individuals for COVID-19 vaccination, this donation will boost the country’s determination in making more gains in the integrated vaccination approach,” said Dr. Austin Demby, Minister of Health and Sanitation.

Since March 2021, when Sierra Leone first introduced COVID-19 vaccination, the partners have helped ensure the delivery of up to 7,881,848 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the country through COVAX and other sources. Since the initial rollout, vaccination of eligible members of the population has significantly improved.

This latest support from the COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership will ensure that the country’s COVID-19 vaccination programme continues this positive trajectory, continuing to reach high-risk population groups with boosters and remaining alert to the continued global threat of COVID-19.

“Gavi is proud to work with our partners in continued support of Sierra Leone’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout,” said Dr Richard Mihigo, Director of COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery, Coordination and Integration at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

“These additional resources are vital investments that will further strengthen the health system as a whole, supporting the integration of COVID-19 vaccines into routine immunization programs, and ensuring more children are protected against various vaccine-preventable diseases.”

These vehicles and equipment have come at a time when partners in Sierra Leone continue to support the Government’s efforts to strengthen the healthcare delivery system and improve child healthcare services including immunization, which faced a temporary snag due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In collaboration with the Government of Sierra Leone, we will intensify efforts on the deployment of vaccines, strengthening of the cold chain system, community sensitization, and engagement for increased uptake of immunization services”, said Dr. Suleiman Braimoh, UNICEF Representative in Sierra Leone.

“This will help ensure that the COVID-19 vaccination is integrated into routine immunization services in 2023 and beyond to protect children from vaccine-preventable illnesses such as polio and measles.”

Dr. Innocent Nuwagira, WHO Representative in Sierra Leone said: “The protracted nature of the COVID-19 pandemic calls for continued collaboration and partnership to support the ongoing efforts and progress that Sierra Leone has made in the fight against the disease.

“While we recognize the progress, WHO encourages everyone to remain vigilant, maintain the structures that were instituted to curb the pandemic, get more people vaccinated and continue to administer booster doses in accordance with national guidelines to safeguard the gains that we have collectively made”.

In addition to the items donated yesterday, another consignment including two vehicles, one refrigerated van, and 150 solar refrigerators, is expected to arrive in Sierra Leone by March 2023 for handover to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

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News & Announcements

WHO Issues Fresh COVID-19 Alert

Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned countries that COVID-19 is not over. The top UN official said the reports of the decline in cases and deaths do not mean the end of the pandemic. Ghebreyesus spoke on Sunday in Geneva at the opening of the World Health Assembly.
The Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO, has 194 member countries.
At the meeting, the first in-person since 2019, Ghebreyesus advised health ministers not to relax.
“Is COVID-19 over? No. I know that’s not the message you want to hear, and it’s definitely not the message I want to deliver,” he said.

The DG expressed concern about increasing cases in nearly 70 countries in all regions with testing rates reduced.
Ghebreyesus added that reported deaths are also rising in Africa, the continent with the lowest vaccination coverage.
“It’s not over anywhere until it’s over everywhere. Only 57 countries have vaccinated 70 percent of their population, almost all of them high-income countries,” he noted.

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