World Vision to Help Bring Community Education, Understanding in Major Ebola Vaccine Initiative

Media Contact :

Lauren Fisher
National Director
[email protected]
m 206.310.5476

WASHINGTON, DC (January 16, 2015) — World Vision has been chosen to be part of a $250 million dollar initiative across several groups to help bring an Ebola vaccine solution to West Africa. The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is launching the first eight projects of its Ebola+ program to accelerate all aspects of vaccine development and manufacturing as well as deployment and compliance with vaccine regimens and diagnostics. Projects are part of the wider IMI Ebola+ program, which is designed to contribute to efforts to tackle a broad range of major challenges in Ebola research while complementing work supported by other funding bodies.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the virus has killed more than 8,000 across West Africa.

World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization, will receive a substantial grant from IMI to partner on the Ebola Vaccine Deployment, Acceptance & Compliance (EboDAC) project, and will work on the ground in West Africa to build trust among communities for the vaccine and to dispel misconceptions about Ebola and about the vaccine itself.

“The concern is that the stigma surrounding Ebola, coupled with a suspicion of vaccines in general, may deter people from getting vaccinated. We will work with the communities who know and trust us to develop plans and spread accurate information,” said Magnus Conteh, Health and Programs Coordinator, West and East Africa.

World Vision will be on the ground working closely with interested parties, including the Ministries of Health. The organization and its partners will train community leaders, including faith leaders, in using the correct scientific knowledge when discussing Ebola and the vaccination with their communities. They will also be involved in ensuring that all ethical, data privacy and regulatory requirements are complied with in each country that the trial takes place in, to ensure the well-being of those who take part.

One of the project’s most important products will be a platform, based on mobile phone technology, dedicated to Ebola vaccines. As well as providing local communities with information on Ebola and vaccines, reminders will be sent through mobile phones to people receiving the “prime boost” vaccine to return to get their second “booster” dose. It will also facilitate the tracking of vaccination coverage and will communicate details of local training programs. World Vision has used this mobile phone technology since 2012 to successfully support community health workers in providing maternal and infant care in Africa.

“We are thrilled to be a partner in this critical fight against Ebola, which has ravaged communities where we work in places like Sierra Leone. We’ve seen firsthand the devastating impact the disease can have on families, leaving children orphaned and vulnerable. Although there is no vaccine or treatment against Ebola as yet, we hope by these groups coming together there will be a significant impact on both current and future outbreaks,” Conteh said.

World Vision will partner with Janssen Pharmaceutica N.V., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, Grameen Foundation and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to support the implementation of the EboDAC project.

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Notes to editor:
The Ebola vaccine regimen trials are anticipated to begin in West Africa in May this year.

The vaccine regimen does not include any “live” virus and is therefore not capable of causing anyone to become infected with Ebola.

The current Ebola epidemic is unprecedented in its scale and geographical distribution. According to the latest reports from the WHO, as of January 4, 2015 there have been over 20,000 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases in the current outbreak, and over 8,000 deaths, most of them in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

This project has received funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program and The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).

The grant agreements for some projects, including EboDAC, selected under the first call of the same Ebola+ program, are still being finalized. Final information on all selected projects, including budget details, will be published once the grant agreements have been signed.

About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development, and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.WorldVision.org/media-center/ or on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.

Highlights

  • Aid organizations, manufacturers, pharmaceutical researchers and health professionals all coming together to move forward Ebola vaccine initiative.
  • World Vision will work with West African communities to ease misconception and fears.
  • Mobile phone technology will be used to help families remember to get boosters.