World Immunisation Week 2023: The Big Catch-Up

The World Immunisation Week 2023 Twitter Space event, held on the 28th of April, was a virtual confluence of experts and advocates in the immunization field across Africa. This engaging forum addressed the main theme “The Big Catch Up” and discussed critical issues around vaccine equity, access, and the pivotal role of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in immunization efforts.

Meet the Panelist

The event featured eight esteemed panelists representing diverse regions, organizations, and expertise. These experts from the fields of public health, medical science, community development, and advocacy enriched the conversation with their unique perspectives and insights. The panelists included:

1. Dr. Djibril Wade, R&D Scientist and Project Manager, iLEAD, IRESSEF (Senegal)

2. Judith Ochieng, Kenya Malaria Youth Army, Advocacy Team

3. Mable K. Musinguzi, Senior Advocacy and Networking Officer, Uganda National Health Users/Consumers’ Organisation (UNHCO)

4. Peter Ngo’la Owiti, Executive Director, Wote Youth Development Projects CBO (Kenya)

5. Zakari Isiaka Osheku, Founder and Executive Director, PHC Initiative Africa (Nigeria)

6. Kimaru Nahashon, Youth Pastor, Biochemist, and Clinical Officer (Kenya)

7. Lizzy Igbine, Community Leader, Gender Activist, and Mother and Child Nutrition Expert (Uganda)

8. Shila Ukumbini Salim, Executive Director, Youth for Sustainable Development -Kilifi (Kenya)

These panelists engaged in thoughtful discussions on vaccine equity, hesitancy, and the role of civil society organizations in ensuring global health security. Their expertise was instrumental in shedding light on these important issues and in suggesting viable solutions.

Discussion Highlights

  • Dr. Djibril Wade: Explored the significance of scientific research and development in improving immunization tools and strategies, sharing his personal experiences and key projects from his work at iLEAD
  • Mable K. Musinguzi: Discussed the unique role of health user/consumer organizations in influencing health policy and boosting immunization efforts. Provided examples from her work with UNHCO in Uganda
  • Lizzy Igbine: Shared insights on the importance of comprehensive maternal and child care, with emphasis on nutrition and its impact on immunization outcomes. Her experiences as a community leader in Uganda provided a ground-level perspective
  • Zakari Isiaka Osheku: Underscored the significance of primary healthcare system strengthening for improved immunization coverage. His experiences and initiatives with PHC Initiative Africa offered an innovative approach towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
  • Judith Ochieng: Emphasized the power of youth engagement in the fight against diseases like malaria. Shared experiences on advocacy and its role in improving immunization coverage
  • Peter Ngo’la Owiti: Highlighted the potential of community-based organizations in supplementing government efforts for immunization, sharing his experiences with Wote Youth Development Projects in Kenya
  • Kimaru Nahashon: Presented the unique intersection of faith and health, discussing his role as a youth pastor and health advocate. He further expounded on the importance of youth engagement and social accountability in health matters
  • Shila Ukumbini Salim: Highlighted the importance of community development and the role of local youth in promoting sustainable health initiatives, including immunization. Her work with Youth for Sustainable Development in Kilifi County illustrated the positive impact of youth engagement in public service and health sectors.

Impact Analysis And Future Strategies

  • Outcomes and Impact

    The event successfully created awareness and built bridges between various immunisation stakeholders. The collective wisdom gathered has been transformed into a podcast, which attracted over 70 active participants representing over 30 CSOs, and has been accessed over 500 times since the event. The event also gained over 10,000 impressions online, extending the reach of these discussions beyond the live session. The dialogues ignited during the event continue to inspire and guide actions on the ground, as evidenced by several attendees initiating similar conversations within their local communities post- event.

  • Recommendations and Future Directions

    To increase reach and engagement for future events, the following strategies could be considered: Enhance pre-event social media promotion using targeted content and leveraging the networks of our panelists and partners. Foster partnerships with additional CSOs, local community influencers, and healthcare organizations for wider reach. Introduce interactive elements during the event, such as live polls or Q&A sessions, to sustain audience interest and participation

Ideas For Upcoming Episodes

In light of this, we would like to extend an invitation for you to partner with us for the upcoming episodes. Your expertise, insights, and influence would be invaluable for the success of these discussions.

Here are the themes we are considering for our future episodes:

  • “Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy and Misinformation”: This episode aims to explore strategies to combat vaccine hesitancy and spread accurate information about vaccines.
  • “Advancing Vaccine Equity and Access in Francophone Africa”: A Francophone episode with a special focus on West Africa, discussing the unique challenges and solutions for improving vaccine access and equity in the region.
  • “The Power of Youth in Promoting Immunization”: This episode will focus on how we can empower youth to take action in their communities to support and promote immunization

As a partner, we hope you would be able to contribute in various ways, including:

  • Providing valuable insights and content for the episodes
  • Suggesting potential speakers from within the Gavi Secretariat or from your network
  • Promoting the podcast within your networks to enhance its reach

We are confident that, with your involvement, the upcoming episodes can reach a larger audience, leading to greater awareness, dialogue, and action towards global immunization goals.

Partnership Invitation

We extend a warm invitation to potential partners to join us in our future endeavors. By lending your support and collaborating with us, you can significantly contribute to the cause of improving immunisation coverage, thus making a tangible impact on public health outcomes in Africa and beyond.

Key Benefits

  • Knowledge Sharing: Our panel discussions and podcasts are rich sources of information and insights from experts in the field. As a partner, your team can gain from this knowledge, which could contribute to capacity building within your organisation
  • Community Engagement: Partnerships provide opportunities for direct interaction with communities, potential customers, or beneficiaries. This engagement can lead to a better understanding of community needs and perspectives, which can inform future initiatives
  • Shared Resources: Partners can benefit from shared resources such as research data, industry contacts, event platforms, etc., which might otherwise be costly or time-consuming to acquire