How project support increases Covid-19 vaccine uptake in Dodoma 

How project support increases Covid-19 vaccine uptake in Dodoma 

COVID-19   vaccine uptake in Dodoma region has increased by 20.4 per cent in a period of four months, following an enormous support from developed partners who among other things, facilitated outreach services and deployment of community health workers.

Dodoma Regional Immunisation and Vaccination Officer, Dr Francis Bujiku said recently that, the support received through the implementation of Momentum Country and Global Leadership (MCGL) project has greatly improved the vaccine uptake in the region.

Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) the MCGL project was implemented by an international non-governmental organisation- Jhpiego in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and President’s Office - Regional Administration and Local Government.

"When the project started at the end of November last year we had only vaccinated nine per cent of the targeted population but to date we have reached 29.4 per cent, this is a huge improvement recorded within a short time," Dr Bujiku said.

According to him the region intends to vaccinate   969,772 of whom 284,944 have been fully vaccinated while nearly 400,000 have received first dose of the jab.

"When the project started we had vaccinated 157,705 people since the exercise started in early August last year, but they vaccinated 135,000 people within a short time after being empowered through the project as well as close supervision.

"The region is working hard to make sure that those who have received first dose get the second dose so that they can be fully protected and this can be realised through door to door vaccination services," he explained.

He further noted that before the support they had been vaccinating an average of 1,500 people per day, but through the support the number increased to 6,000 per day.

Dr Bujiku explained that vaccines distribution was one of the areas which received support through the project.

"They ensured that the vaccines are distributed to the health facilities   for successful implementation of the exercise," he noted.

He said that the project also supported outreach services by empowering health workers, so that they follow the citizens and provide them with immunisation services.

"As we all know outreach services need resources because health workers move from one place to another to provide the services, with limited resources they end up serving people around their working stations, but with the support many people were vaccinated through this programme," he said.

Dr Bujiku further said that Community Health Workers (CHWs) play an important role in Covid-19 vaccinations as they help to identify people who are supposed to receive second doses so that they can be inoculated;

"Our  region was providing  Pfizer and Sinopharm vaccines, whereby  we had vaccinated 74 per cent and  77 per cent of the targeted population, but with the use of CHWs  we  have reached 90 per cent  of the targeted people who received Pfizer and 89 per cent  with Sinophram ... this project has helped a lot  to reach majority of the  targeted population."

He further noted that  the project also facilitated  primary health care meetings  which   encouraged  leaders in district councils  to set up strategies  which increased   Covid -19 vaccine  uptake  in their respective  areas.

Dr  Venance  Mgaiga, the Acting  Chamwino District  Medical Officer (DMO) said  the  MCGL  project  has helped a lot  in reaching people eligible for  Covid-19  vaccination.

He said that his district has a total of 148,202 people who are eligible for vaccination of whom 55,000 people have so far been inoculated which is equivalent to 37.5 per cent of the targeted group.

He said Chamwino is among the districts in the region that have recorded tremendous success in Covid-19 vaccination, due to the support received through the MCGL project.

Dr Mgaiga noted that the use of CHWs has made the vaccination exercise successful because the number of people   who were vaccinated per day increased for 300 per day to 2000.

"Through the project, CHWs and village and ward executives were trained on vaccine and various approaches which can help to make the exercise successful," he said.

He noted that   the CHWs brought huge impact on vaccination because according to their statistics 60 per cent of people who received Covi-19 vaccine was contributed by the group who were supported by the project.

Ms Anne Uledi, one of the CHWs at Buigiri village said that the training she received has helped a lot to boost his skills in advocating for Covid-19 vaccination.

She called upon the government to consider supporting them in terms of payments and working tools so that they can provide effective support in health sector.

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