Lessons from Yemen: Diphtheria and Polio Campaign in the Context of COVID-19

  •  Kennedy Ongwae    
  •  Victor Sule    
  •  Anirban Chatterjee    
  •  Daniel Ngemera    
  •  Abu Obeida Eltayeb    
  •  Javed IQBAL    
  •  Islam Mahfuzul M Kaisar    


Yemen conducted a diphtheria campaign in five governorates between 4 July and 19 July 2020, followed by a polio campaign in 13 governorates between 25 July and 17 August 2020. The study aimed at documenting lessons from conducting the campaigns within the context of COVID-19 pandemic in Yemen after their initial suspension in March 2020. The lessons could contribute to the evidence on the feasibility of maintaining and continuing vaccination campaigns in the context of COVID-19. The descriptive study relied on key informants and content analysis of planning and budgeting documents and daily monitoring reports as data sources. The COVID-19 precautions, including masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, and reduced crowding and social distancing, were applied during the campaigns. These measures minimized concerns over COVID-19, enabling the campaigns to go on, achieving 75% of its target for diphtheria and 96% of the polio campaign’s target. The provision of personal protective equipment increased the campaign’s perceived safety, leading to its smooth implementation. The measures constituted only about 4 percent of the entire cost of the campaign. The lessons learned will inform the planning and implementation of other upcoming vaccination-related activities in Yemen. This is also a good case study and experience for sharing with other countries.

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