“The COVID-19 vaccination project conducted by ALIMA in the Central African Republic (CAR) is a success, despite many challenges,” says Grevisse, project coordinator for ALIMA in CAR. “At the beginning, because the disease was new, but also because of all the rumors around it, we were afraid it wouldn’t work. There is a real difference between vaccination campaigns in rural and urban areas. In the city, for example, the false information spread on social media is a hindrance. On the other hand, in more remote places like Nana-Gribizi or Bocaranga, people come without any fear.”
In the spring of 2021, as soon as COVID-19 vaccines were available, ALIMA quickly collaborated with the country’s health authorities and implemented vaccination campaigns, with the support of the European Union (ECHO). While some neighboring countries have been reluctant to vaccinate, the Central African population is more supportive thanks to ALIMA’s collaborative approach. Today, two million people have been vaccinated, including over 215,000 by ALIMA teams.
“Now we are vaccinating about 20,000-25,000 people per campaign in rural areas thanks to the availability of vaccine inputs at central level and the uptake of immunization in rural areas,” says Grevisse. “The Ministry of Health is very satisfied and supportive of our work because they are not used to working with community leaders as we do. This makes our intervention much more effective. In addition, we do advocacy work, train national medical teams in the management of epidemics, and provide transportation for vaccines and supplies.”
“When you intervene like this with populations, (…) you really have to be collaborative and work with the communities, hand in hand, discussing how we can do it together. It makes a world of difference!”
ALIMA has been active in the Central African Republic since 2013. Present in 4 health districts, ALIMA focuses its efforts on emergency response by providing free medical-nutritional and surgical care. The NGO also conducts activities to strengthen the national health system, including building or rehabilitating health facilities, as well as training national health personnel.
Vaccination activities against COVID 19 were made possible thanks to the support of the European Commission for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO).
Cover Picture : © Zigoto Tchaya Tchameni / ALIMA