Review of COVID-19 vaccination efforts in Malawi
AFENET and Africa CDC have been working with the ministries of health of Egypt, Malawi, Togo, Somalia and Zambia to support COVID-19 response efforts since January 2022. This initiative is funded by Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). Each country implements activities based on the needs they have identified.
In Malawi, the project focused recruiting and equipping surge teams comprising vaccinators, social mobilizers and data clerks for three southern districts of Chikwawa, Phalombe and Thyolo to improve the COVID-19 immunization coverage on amongst others. The teams were deployed in October 2022 for a period of 6 months ending in March 2023.
A midterm review meeting was held from 1-2 February 2023 in Lilongwe, Malawi and was attended by the officials of MoH from national and districts levels, in addition to select vaccinators, social mobilizers and data clerks from each of the target districts. AFENET was represented by Dr. Rebecca Babirye – Senior Epidemiologist, Ms Jackline Kaitale – Administrator and Mr. Stephen Kyambadde – Senior Procurement Officer.
Dr Mike Chisema – Malawi EPI Program Manager reported that the country was yet to meet its target of vaccinating 70% of the population against COVID-19. The 3 districts shared updates on progress, challenges and implementation strategies for the remaining project period. Implementation in the last three months of the project will focus on rolling out various strategies aimed at increasing uptake of COVID-19 vaccines beyond the current level of 26% of the target population.
The AFENET Team also visited Phalombe District Hospital, one of the vaccination sites supported by the project.