Africa: Health initiative - Measles and polio Appeal No. MAA60001

This appeal seeks a total of CHF 3,011,000(1) to fund programmes and activities to be implemented in 2006 and 2007. These programmes are aligned with the International Federation's Global Agenda, which sets out four broad goals to meet the Federation's mission to "improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity".

Global Agenda Goals:

- Reduce the numbers of deaths, injuries and impact from disasters.

- Reduce the number of deaths, illnesses and impact from diseases and public health emergencies.

- Increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability.

- Reduce intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion and promote respect for diversity and human dignity.

This initiative forms part of a comprehensive Federation health and care strategy, and specifically aims to support an increased participation of national societies in community mobilization for immunization services, and a gradual transition from accelerated disease control initiatives in selected countries (measles mortality reduction and polio eradication) towards supporting sustainable routine immunization programmes. Funding from this appeal will also serve to strengthen national society and Federation participation in the "last mile" effort of polio eradication and to achieve even greater progress in measles reduction as part of the Measles Initiative Partnerships.

The appeal budget summary

2006-2007 (in CHF)
Africa Health Initiative
Measles and Polio


Polio Eradication

Globally, the number of polio endemic countries decreased dramatically between 1988-2003, from 125 countries to 6 (Nigeria, Niger, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan) - a more than 99% reduction. However a major set back occurred in Africa when supplementary immunization activities (SIA's) were suspended for some time in 2003- 2004 in the northern states of Nigeria. As a result, Nigeria experienced increased cases of wild poliovirus (WPV) transmission which then spread to other countries. Hence, 18 countries previously polio-free reported "importations". Three of these countries were outside Africa (Indonesia, Yemen and Saudi Arabia). As of September 2005, 1,163 WPV cases were reported in 14 countries, with the highest rates in Yemen (440), Nigeria (389), Indonesia (231), while other countries reported fewer cases. These included India (27), Sudan (26), Pakistan (15), Ethiopia (15), Angola (7), Mali (3), Niger (3), Chad (1), Cameroon (1), and Eritrea (1).

In 2006 the highest and most urgent priority for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and for the Federation is the rapid interruption of the WPV transmission in the six remaining endemic countries and in the newly infected countries. At ministerial meetings convened by WHO on polio eradication in Geneva in January and February 2005, Ministers of Health from the most polio-affected countries in Africa and Asia signed the Geneva Declaration for Polio Eradication, agreeing to an unprecedented intensification of supplementary immunization activities to reach every child under five years of age with multiple doses of OPV, to stop polio transmission, and to ensure that polio transmission is interrupted. The declaration includes a strategic plan of action until 2008, with indicators and milestones for interrupting transmission and for eventual achievement of global certification of polio eradication. Success in interrupting the transmission of the WPV depends on:

- The number of SIA's conducted in each country reaching children with multiple doses of oral polio vaccine.

- The quality of SIA's conducted (i.e. the percentage of target population reached).

In September 2005, in recognition of the serious threat of re-establishment of polio in East Africa, confirmed by new cases in East African countries, the Global Polio Initiative announced a large scale plan for coordinated polio campaigns in East Africa to reach 34 million children. The campaigns covered the following countries Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and parts of Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is in addition to the West and Central African countries where synchronized polio campaigns have been conducted since 2004.

The Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies, as the organizations with the largest presence in the community, have a critical role in community mobilizations and raising awareness to polio.

The International Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people. The Federation is the world's largest humanitarian organization, and its millions of volunteers are active in over 181 countries. All international assistance to support vulnerable communities seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response, according to the SPHERE Project.

For further information please contact:

- Dr. Bruce Eshaya-Chauvin, Head, Health and Care Department; phone: +41 22 730 4862; email:

- Jean Roy, Public Health Advisor; email:; phone: +41 22 730 4419. - Elizabeth Mbizvo, Senior Health Officer; email:; phone + 41 22 730 4487

Note: 1 USD 2.3 million or EUR 1.9 million

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