Today morning on the outskirts of Nouakchott, the reception area of the Teyarett vaccination facility is bustling with activity due to the large number of individuals who have come to get their shots. A consistent number of women and men from a wide variety of walks of life are making their way here to be vaccinated. Medical professionals, such as doctors and nurses, examine the patient’s vital signs, input the data, give the dosages, and issue immunization certificates.
“I came here today to do my civic duty and to take the COVID-19 vaccine to protect myself, my family, and my community,” said El Ghalya Ally, a 43-year-old lady who was beaming with a grin the whole time she spoke. “I came here today to perform my civic duty and to take the COVID-19 vaccine.”
When it comes to promoting immunization against COVID-19, Mauritania has been one of the most active nations in Africa. Today, almost forty percent of adults in the population have received all of their recommended vaccinations.
The rollout of the vaccination in Mauritania was a resounding success; but, what were the most important factors that contributed to this outcome?
1. An exciting and well-prepared launch
The West African country was successful in carrying out a dynamic vaccination program, responding to the many kinds of vaccinations acquired in different batches and with variable expiry dates. This allowed for the campaign to be effective.
2. A mobile approach to reach the nomad population in the desert, including refugees in some of the most remote regions of the nation
The problems and logistics surrounding the launch of the campaign were enormous due to the presence of huge swaths of pastoral land as well as the Sahara Desert, which made up 90 percent of the country’s geography. Because of this, the government made the decision to implement a mobile approach that would target some of the most isolated areas and make use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccination that only required a single shot.
In order to bring attention to the significance of vaccination in the struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic, this required a significant mobilization on the part of major media outlets, influential religious figures, and youth organizations.
3. A digital register that can give up-to-date information as well as certificates of immunization
According to Sidi Ould Zahaf, the Minister of Health of Mauritania, “What’s novel about this immunization program is the computerized register.” It is something that is incredibly essential because it provides us with real-time data that enables us to know what the coverage rate is and what kinds of populations are getting vaccinated. In addition to this, it makes it possible for us to hand out immunization tickets to those who are interested in traveling.
The World Bank is an important partner in Mauritania, assisting the government in its efforts to effectively fund the response to the Covid-19 outbreak and rebuild. The World Bank is assisting the government and other partners, such as AVAT, COVAX, and UNICEF, in improving health systems and acquiring and deploying vaccines as part of the response to the health crisis. It has been determined that a total of more than $47 million needs to be raised in order to assist the national health response.
In an effort to keep their communities as risk-free as possible, medical professionals and nurses are taking the battle against the pandemic one vaccination at a time, both at the Teyarett health facility and elsewhere in the country.