This article originally appeared on Gavi’s VaccinesWork website. Below is an excerpt.
Educating men in Lagos about the importance of immunisations in protecting their children’s health is improving vaccine coverage.
Growing up in the northern part of Nigeria, Zainab Abiodun Hassan saw how difficult it was for healthcare workers to get villagers to bring their children for immunisation. Hassan, the assistant director of community health services, Ijede Local Government Area in Lagos state, says that “while many mothers want their kids to get their routine immunisation, they need permission from their husbands, which isn’t always forthcoming.”
Hassan realised that it was the same situation in Lagos, and has made it her life’s mission to make sure that men are well educated in the importance of immunisation.
“Gathering men in one place is very difficult. What has worked well over these years of doing community talks is going to where the men are. With a group of my colleagues, we regularly go to the motor packs, beer parlours, and football fields to speak to them. We then take their contacts and follow up to invite them to community dialogues where we talk about vaccines and the benefit of immunising children. I also make sure that I speak to them in their language. If I don’t speak their language, I have an interpreter,” Hassan adds.