Linked Community News October 2022

This newsletter is available in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian.

The Linked Immunisation Action Network has spent the last couple months documenting key takeaways and lessons from several recent country learning exchanges. This includes a video interview about Moldova’s use of pharmacists to increase vaccine demand, a brief on decision-making for new vaccine introduction, and a brief on lessons from Georgia and Uzbekistan’s introduction of HPV vaccines.

The middle-income country dashboards that we launched in August have been translated and are now available in English, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian. We encourage you to learn more about the countries within the network and how they track along key indicators such as coverage, equity, financing, and new vaccine introductions.

The Linked Steering Committee held their second meeting where they reflected on lessons learned and discussed approaches to measuring the Network’s impact as our first year comes to a close. Country representatives from Armenia, Georgia, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Sri Lanka participated, along with representatives from our key global partners. Get to know all the Steering Committee representatives by reading their spotlight profiles, which include some fun facts about each of them!

Linked Network Facilitators are planning additional learning engagements over the coming months on health worker performance, clearing immunisation backlogs, reaching zero-dose populations, and more. Stay tuned or send us an email if you’d like to learn more. And watch out for a big announcement regarding the Network’s expansion in coming months with a bigger scope and geographical reach!

Best regards,
Your Linked Network Facilitation Team from Curatio International Foundation (Tbilisi), the Institute for Health Policy (Colombo), and Results for Development (Washington, DC)

NETWORK UPDATES

New Practitioner Perspective Video: Lessons from Moldova on the Use of Pharmacists to Increase Demand for COVID-19 Vaccinations
During our workshop with seven countries in the Europe-Central Asia region on Strengthening Immunisation Service Delivery through Primary Health Care Platforms, Linked Network Facilitators asked a few experts about recent successes within their national immunisation programmes. As part of this Practitioner Perspectives series, we hear from Oxana Constantinova, Doctor Epidemiologist, Center for Public Health, Moldova, on the use of pharmacists to increase demand and coverage for COVID-19 vaccines and how to leverage that experience for routine immunisation. The video interview was conducted in Russian and is accompanied by English sub-titles, which can be accessed by clicking on the closed caption (CC) button on the video and then selecting “English” from the options.

Decision-making for New Vaccine Introduction: Three Key Takeaways from Georgia’s Experience Introducing the Rotavirus and HPV Vaccines
The Linked Network facilitated a discussion with Georgia immunisation and finance experts to support the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Azerbaijan to learn from their neighboring country’s decision-making process for new vaccine introduction and the key factors driving their decisions. Our new brief, available in English, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian, outlines three key takeaways from Georgia’s experience introducing the Rotavirus and HPV vaccines, as presented to the Azerbaijan MoH.

HPV Vaccine Introduction: Communications & Intersectoral Collaboration – Lessons Learned from Georgia and Uzbekistan
Following the workshop on Strengthening Immunisation Service Delivery through Primary Health Care Platforms, Linked coordinated a study tour for Mongolia to learn from two of its network peers that had recently introduced the HPV vaccine in 2019, Uzbekistan and Georgia, as the Ministry of Health (MoH) prepares for a national introduction of the HPV vaccine. These lessons, which will help Mongolia overcome barriers to sustaining high coverage to prevent cervical cancer, are summarized in a new brief available on the website.

Linked Country Dashboards Now Available in Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian
Our middle-income country dashboards help countries track their progress toward strong immunisation programme performance using up-to-date evidence. These dashboards are now available in English, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian! Simply click on the individual country profiles on our website to access the dashboards in each language!

Get to Know Your Linked Steering Committee Representatives in New Spotlight Series
Linked Network Facilitators chatted with representatives from the Steering Committee to learn more about their experiences working in immunisation, what they are most looking forward to from the network, as well as some fun, personal facts about themselves. Below are teasers from two new Steering Committee representatives!

Hashta Meyta, National Coordinator, Expanded Programme on Immunisation, Ministry of Health, Indonesia
What experiences are you most excited to bring to the Steering Committee?
The issue of communication with key actors in the country to adopt Advance Market Commitment (AMC) or purchasing vaccines through UNICEF are my most challenging experiences.

Shahira Malm, Immunisation Specialist, UNICEF
What aspects of your role in the Steering Committee are you most excited to participate in?
The exchange of information, reviewing results and impact of the Network and providing feedback on continuous improvement is an exciting aspect of the Steering Committee’s role. Often the link from generating evidence to translating to decisions is missed. I’m looking forward to strengthening that link through the work of the Steering Committee.

FEATURED NEWS & RESOURCES

Routine Immunisation Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic
This briefing outlines the key learnings from a three-part webinar series addressing the risks and opportunities for routine immunisation services in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The briefing outlines specific recommendations for consideration of civil society organisations (CSOs), donor and implementing governments, and the wider immunisation community. These recommendations can be used as an advocacy resource for all immunisation stakeholders seeking to accelerate progress towards the Immunisation Agenda 2030 and achieve equitable access to immunisation for all.

Gavi’s Approach to Engaging with Middle-income Countries
Curious to know more about Gavi’s middle-income countries (MICs) Approach? This new webpage outlines pertinent information, including country eligibility and the type of country support available, and includes key resources, like Gavi’s MICs theory of change.

Global Compendium of Country Knowledge on COVID-19 Vaccination
In 2021, under extraordinary time constraints and severe programmatic challenges, countries used a range of approaches and strategies to introduce and deploy COVID-19 vaccines as rapidly and effectively as possible. Documentation and indexing of these different approaches and strategies provides an opportunity to foster cross-country learning, facilitate peer-to-peer problem solving, and establish a pool of knowledge and skills to help inform actions that may be leveraged in a future health crisis that requires vaccination. This repository of implementation experiences serves as a clearinghouse to capture and preserve key country experiences.

Private Sector COVID-19 Engagement: Cataloguing Activities Around Vaccine Acceptance and Uptake
The MOMENTUM Routine Immunisation Transformation and Equity project mapped global private sector interventions supporting COVID-19 efforts, detailed profiles of each intervention level and type, and recommendations aligned to five segments of the unvaccinated. The document is intended to inspire innovation in building creative and effective partnerships that drive COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and uptake.

Managing the Challenges Associated with Decreasing Demand for COVID-19 Vaccination in Central and West Asia
In 2022, COVID-19 vaccination coverage is no longer determined by access to supply, and manufacturers are reducing or stopping production of vaccines completely. Uptake of COVID-19 vaccination in 2022 is dependent on complex issues like vaccine hesitancy. This paper, focused on the Central and West Asia region, outlines and describes the different phases of demand for COVID-19 vaccination, as well as the risks and strategies to consider in each of these phases.

Supporting Vaccination: A Toolkit for Community Health Workers
Confident, well-equipped community health workers can accelerate global vaccination efforts, but they face barriers like misinformation and limited resources. Digital Medic has created a free digital toolkit to address these challenges and equip CHWs with the knowledge and communication strategies to increase vaccine uptake around the world. Explore the Supporting Vaccination toolkit.

How can we Boost COVID-19 Vaccine Coverage in Lower-income Countries?
COVID-19 vaccine coverage in low- and middle-income countries is increasing at a steady pace but remains lower than higher-income nations. VaccinesWork spoke to Ted Chaiban, Head of the COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership, about how we can ensure nobody is left behind in the vaccine race.

Understanding COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Through an Organizational Behaviour Lens
Vaccine hesitancy during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a worldwide public health challenge. Organizational behaviour, the study of people’s behaviours in organizational settings, can be used to identify the behavioural drivers contributing to vaccine hesitancy and to develop targeted strategies to combat those drivers and improve vaccine uptake. This recent editorial takes an organizational behaviour lens and provides strategies and recommendations to help provide healthcare and organizational leaders with a framework to address vaccine hesitancy.

EXTERNAL EVENTS

Reaching Zero-dose Children: Immunisation in Fragile & Conflict Affected Settings
The Zero-Dose Children Webinar series aimed to build an understanding of how to reach key populations missed by immunisation and other basic health services, including communities residing in poor urban areas (informal settlements), those affected by conflict and displacement and residents of remote-rural areas. For those unable to attend, you can now access the recording for the first webinar in the series, Immunisation in Fragile and Conflict Affected Settings in English or French.

Reversing Alarming Declines in Immunisation: Building Sustainable Vaccine Demand with and for Communities
A recent event, held by Devex and Sabin Vaccine Institute, explored the barriers to restoring and sustaining high acceptance and demand for both COVID-19 vaccines and routine immunisations, how misinformation and limited health services are holding back progress for equitable vaccine access and demand, and pioneering practices from LMICs we can build on to drive high vaccination rates through community engagement. In case you missed it, make sure to check out the event recording, available in English.

Learning about COVID-19 Vaccination, Gender Barriers, and Neglected Diseases
The Geneva Learning Foundation held an Insights Live event series where they shared insights and lessons on three key topics – how we build confidence in COVID-19 vaccines, listening and learning from the experience of women and men who are challenging gender barriers in immunization, and neglected needs of women’s health. The recording from this live event is now available online in English and French.

Vaccine Economics Research for Sustainability and Equity (VERSE) Launch Equity Toolkit
As low- and middle-income countries expand domestic investment in vaccines, data on the economic value of these investments can help decision-makers compare the benefits of vaccination with other health and non-health investments. These data can also provide advocates with rigorous evidence to demonstrate the impact of vaccines in terms that are comparable with other sectors. Earlier this year, Vaccine Economics Research for Sustainability and Equity (VERSE) launched their Equity Toolkit for Multidimensional Equity Assessments, which compares the level of vaccine coverage against the level of equity and quantifies the influence of key sociodemographic factors to inequity.

COUNTRY SPOTLIGHTS

Islamic Organisations Promote COVID-19 Vaccinations in Indonesia
To tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, Islamic organisations in Indonesia are not only promoting vaccinations but also administering them. In Indonesia, religion plays a crucial role in vaccination programmes. Read more about how the involvement of a large Muslim organisation was an effective strategy to immunise 200 million people with COVID-19 vaccines.

COVID-19 Vaccination in India’s Remote Villages
Health workers and religious heads have joined forces to ensure that Kargil’s remote, hard-to-reach villages are vaccinated against COVID-19. Religious heads from both local Muslim and Buddhist communities used faith to motivate people to get the jab, while health workers launched an intensive door-to-door vaccination drive. Learn more about their efforts in this story featured on Gavi’s VaccinesWork.

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