HomeExpanded Programme on Immunization

The programme was established in 1979.  After ten years of being established the country attained the universal immunization goal when it reached an average coverage of 80% and above for all antigens. The high immunization coverage has been sustained for the past years, except when there was a global vaccine shortage or when there was a change in the recommended statistical proportion of children under 1 in 2000 & 2002 respectively.

 

Vision

The vision of the programme is to keep Malawian children free from vaccine preventable diseases.

Mission Statement

The programme aims at reducing infant morbidity and mortality rates due to vaccine preventable diseases by providing quality immunization services.

 

The programme currently provides the following vaccines to children less than one year of age: 

  • Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine against T.B
  • Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) against Polio
  • Measles vaccine against measles
  • Diptheria,Tetanus,Pertussis+Hepatitis B + Haemophilus influenzae vaccine (DPT-HepB+Hib or Pentavalent vaccine) against Diptheria,Tetanus,Pertussis, Hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type B
  • Pnuemococal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV 13) aginst bacterial pneumonia. This vaccine was introduced in November 2011.
  • Rotavirus vaccine against severe diarrhea caused by rotavirus. This vaccine was introduced in October 2012.

The programme also provides Tetanus Toxoid  vaccine for pregnant women and women of child bearing age.

These immunization services are presently delivered through static and outreach clinics across the country.

In addition to the routine immunization activities, Supplemental Immunization Activities (SIA’s), popularly known as mass vaccination campaigns, have contributed to high immunity of Malawian children, especially against measles. Periodic National Immunization campaigns  for Polio and Measles have been  successfully conducted in Malawi since 1996 in line with World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations. A coverage of above 95% was achieved in all the campaigns.

 

Disease Surveillance

The Expanded Programme on Immunization currently focuses on three main diseases that are of global concern for eradication and elimination: Polio, Measles and Neonatal Tetanus (NNT).

Surveillance at community level is strengthened by Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs). Case detection and reporting is done at community, health centre, district hospital and central hospital levels.

Transport is arranged at either district or regional level to collect specimens and deliver them to the EPI Unit that in turn sends:

  • AFP stool specimens to WHO accredited laboratory in Harare, Zimbabwe.
  • Measles blood specimens to Kamuzu Central Hospital Measles laboratory.

In addition, there is a surveillance site for Paediatric Bacterial Meningitis - Haemophilus influenzae (PBM-Hib) at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre.