Rockefeller Foundation Launches Vaccination Action Network to Strengthen Health Systems and Scale Up Covid-19 Vaccinations in Sub-Saharan Africa

Amref Health Africa has been selected as an implementing partner to provide technical assistance for the new Peer Learning Network

NAIROBI, Kenya, August 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Rockefeller Foundation announces the launch of the Vaccination Action Network (VAN), 7.4 million US dollars A locally-led peer-to-peer learning initiative designed to engage public health decision-makers in sub-Saharan Africa and strengthen their efforts to strengthen health systems while scaling up vaccine search strategies against Covid- 19. Sabin Vaccine Institute and Dalberg are the network’s secretariat, while Amref Health Africa (Amref) plays a key role in directing and administering grants to local organizations in participating countries so that they can implement vaccine demand generation strategies discussed in time of study sessions.

The network now connects Ministry of Health officials, implementing partners and other key actors Kenya, Malawi, Tanzaniaand Uganda through activities designed to take place within and between countries (within and between countries) so that participants can share lessons learned and best practices to stimulate local demand for Covid-19 vaccines. Plans are also underway to expand to other countries in the region.

“Vaccination Action Network’s community-based approach brings together our partners from across the region and country. This collaboration is key to finding and implementing the right vaccination approach.” said Dr Diana Atwine, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Uganda. In a recent VAN training session focused on Wakiso district, Dr. A.S. Matthias Lugoloobi, district health officer in of Uganda central district Wakiso echoed this sentiment, saying that “for strategies to be successful, only the community should have the final say.”

While more than 60 percent of people have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 globally, only 20 percent of people in Africa received full doses. Inconsistent and inequitable access to supplies initially hampered vaccination campaigns on the continent. However, uptake is now primarily affected by complex supply scenarios, limited access to vaccination centers and other ongoing barriers to demand, such as vaccine hesitancy and waning concerns about Covid-19 infection.

VAN’s goal is to help decision-makers understand the driving forces behind vaccination and support initiatives that will increase uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine while strengthening routine immunization so that health systems are better prepared to respond. when the next pandemic hits. This reflects the Rockefeller Foundation’s regional commitment to supporting localized solutions, empowering community representatives and creating more sustainable health systems.

“The Vaccination Action Network is helping to establish new channels of communication that will continually elevate regional knowledge, solutions and leadership,” said William Asiko, vice president of the Africa Regional Office of the Rockefeller Foundation. “By making these discussions country-led, we want to create a space where those directly involved in vaccination campaigns can voice what’s working, what’s not and what needs to change to improve vaccination rates.” “

Peer-to-peer training is an important tool for officials working to address these challenges. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, this type of intra- and inter-state coordination has helped the continent scale up genomic sequencing and provide essential tools, including personal protective equipment and diagnostic tests.

“By encouraging officials to come together, the Vaccine Action Network is opening new dialogues that emphasize regional solutions to local challenges,” said Gitinji Gitahigroup CEO at Amref. “This is essential to address vaccine equity issues, which are linked to national and regional contexts, but also offers countries an opportunity for longer-term coordination on other priorities.”

VAN will host monthly in-country sessions and multiple cross-country discussions before the end of the calendar year, with the goal of translating learnings from these sessions into actionable solutions. To facilitate this, VAN supports Amref through a 5 million US dollars grants to develop and implement tailored strategies that better reflect local needs and address barriers to demand for increased vaccine uptake.

Before the launch, VAN hosted two international and five intra-national discussions, which have already yielded results. Following a May VAN session focused on improving vaccine understanding and uptake, Makerere University’s Institute of Infectious Diseases (IDI) in Kampala, Uganda now working to train “vaccination champions” in Wakiso district. The goal is for champions to connect with communities about the benefits of vaccines, answer their questions and concerns, and ultimately promote vaccination through community-based strategies that have proven successful in past outbreak control settings in Uganda.

“One of our biggest takeaways from talking to VAN was that we need to do more to engage communities with accurate and accessible information about Covid-19 vaccines, building on lessons learned from other health challenges such as HIV and Ebola,” he said Mohamed Lamorde, Head of Global Health Security at IDI. “That’s why our program focuses on working with trusted community members and leaders to equip them with the tools they need to promote greater vaccine acceptance in their communities.”

VAN represents the first major investment by the Global Vaccination Initiative (GVI) to address low vaccine demand in Africa. Launched in April 2022GVI is the Rockefeller Foundation 55 million US dollars efforts to support state-led efforts to fully vaccinate 90% of the most at-risk populations in Africa, Asia, Latin Americaand The Caribbean over the next two years.

For the Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation is a pioneering philanthropy built on collaborative partnerships at the frontiers of science, technology and innovation to enable individuals, families and communities to thrive. We work to promote the well-being of humanity and make opportunity universal. Our focus is on scaling renewable energy for all, driving economic mobility and ensuring equitable access to healthy and nutritious food. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.

Amref Health Africa, headquartered in Kenyais the largest Africabased international non-governmental organization (NGO). With a focus on increasing sustainable access to healthcare, Amref runs programs in over 35 countries Africa, with lessons learned over 60 years of engagement with governments, communities and partners. Amref Health Africa is also involved in program development, fundraising, partnership, advocacy, monitoring and evaluation and has offices in Europe and North America as well as subsidiaries: Amref Flying Doctors, Amref Enterprises and on Amref International University.

About Dahlberg

Dalberg is a leading social impact consulting group that brings together strategic consulting, design thinking, big data analytics and research to address complex social and environmental challenges. It works in collaboration with communities, institutions, governments and corporations to develop solutions that create impact at scale. The Dalberg Group consists of six businesses: Dalberg Advisors, Dalberg Data Insights, Dalberg Design, Dalberg Implement, Dalberg Media and Dalberg Research, as well as the non-profit organization Dalberg Catalyst. For more information, visit www.dalberg.com.

About the Sabin Vaccine Institute

The Sabin Vaccine Institute is a leading advocate for expanding vaccine access and uptake worldwide, advancing vaccine research and development, and expanding vaccine knowledge and innovation. By unlocking the potential of vaccines through partnership, Sabin has built a robust ecosystem of funders, innovators, implementers, practitioners, policymakers and public stakeholders to advance its vision of a future free of preventable disease. As a non-profit organization with more than two decades of experience, Sabin is committed to finding lasting solutions and extending the full benefits of vaccines to all people, no matter who they are or where they live. At Sabin, we believe in the power of vaccines to change the world. For more information, visit www.sabin.org and follow us on Twitter, @SabinVaccine.

SOURCE Rockefeller Foundation

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