As I watched baby after baby receive the pentavalent (5-in-1) vaccine at a mobile health post put on by Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) in Haiti this week, their reactions were all the same. First, they were oblivious to what was going on. Then, they all felt a momentary prick of pain and the waterworks began.
Even though each of the babies experienced short-lived pain, they are now protected against diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus (thus replacing the former diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus vaccine), hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), which causes pneumonia and meningitis.
Community Health Workers working with HAS, called health agents, completely vaccinate 1,500-2,000 children (almost all 0-11 months) each year among 4 functional units. However, that total number has gone down each year since 2013 because of stockouts, according to HAS.
HAS administers all MSPP (Haiti Ministry of Health)- required vaccinations. According to their data, last year the total number of child immunizations among all the above vaccines totaled 14,432 in their service area.
GAVI has committed to over $20 million dollars in vaccines and health systems strengthening through 2020. As of Feb 28, 2015, a little over $10 million has been disbursed.