Skip to main content
Community Contribution

Pivoting from Fixed to Mobile Teams to Improve COVID-19 Vaccination

Eta N. Mbong, Remy Katoke, Dominique Badibanga

On March 2, 2021, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) received its first consignment of COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Global COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) initiative, a mechanism set-up to foster equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. In addition to storage and management preparations implemented by the government prior to the arrival of the vaccines, demand generation and providing services closer to communities were crucial to build COVID-19 vaccine confidence and uptake. MOMENTUM Integrated Health Resilience (MOMENTUM IHR), a USAID-funded project that focuses on strengthening health resilience targets, in the DRC, targets North Kivu, the country’s third most populated province and one of its most volatile settings. MOMENTUM IHR initially supported the DRC Ministry of Health (MOH) to implement its COVID-19 immunization through fixed vaccination posts and then pivoted its approach to mobile outreach vaccination teams that target strategic locations including schools, workplaces, places of worship, and other public structures. Outreach teams collaborated with demand generation partners, who raised awareness to boost COVID-19 vaccine confidence and listed persons interested in receiving COVID-19 vaccination. These individuals were then reached by the mobile vaccination teams.

As of April 2023, seven months after pivoting to mobile vaccination teams, five times the number of persons have been reached by the mobile vaccination teams compared to the fixed services initially supported. Almost all (99%) persons vaccinated by the mobile vaccination teams completed a primary COVID-19 vaccination series, compared to 20% with the fixed teams. The COVID-19 vaccine wastage rate in the supported communities dropped from 47% to 10%. Data review and monitoring meetings that MOMENTUM IHR organized monthly with local actors as well as feedback provided by communities during rapid opinion surveys also helped to learn and trigger the shift. The openness of the MOH and the USAID Mission in the DRC, allowed MOMENTUM IHR to pivot its approach. Collaboration nurtured with demand generation actors, who raised awareness prior to the deployment of mobile teams, was also an enabling factor of the adaptation reported.  

Page last updated