As the latest COVID-19 variant, Omicron, surges around the world, vaccine inequity is putting vulnerable communities at higher risk, allowing variants to mutate and impact all of us. A look at an innovative UNICEF project that is increasing vaccine access and vaccine confidence in rural Malawi.
Africa has the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate in the world. But in Malawi, an innovative UNICEF project is increasing vaccine access and vaccine confidence among pregnant women in rural communities.
“Recently, we received a donation of an express vaccination van, which we can use to drive to hard-to-reach communities,” says Albert Dzikolatha, a community health worker in central Malawi’s Ntchisi District.
Have vaccines, will travel: A UNICEF mobile vaccination van delivers to hard-to-reach communities in central Malawi
“It’s important to have the van come to us and give us information, because our village is very far away from the nearest hospital,” says expectant mother Eliza Sofasi. “Especially for us pregnant women, it’s very far. So when the van comes, we get the information and services quickly.”
The project is already seeing results. “While we compare our daily vaccination figures, when vaccinating here at the hospital and the numbers from our outreach, we are vaccinating more people now that we are mobile and using the express van,” reports nurse midwife Ness Kapondera. “We are vaccinating more people now than before.”