This session explored successful methods and tools of advocacy and policy change in the immunization arena
Copyright WHO/2010/Thomas Moran
This inspiring session explored successful methods and tools of advocacy and policy change in the immunization arena. Led by moderator, Aaron Oxley (RESULTS UK), the presenters raised powerful examples of best practices and challenges in all levels of advocacy.
First, Susan Myers of the UN Foundation spoke about how their Shot@Life campaign began their work by conducting surveys which found out that mothers were the ones in the US who lead on health decisions and on philanthropic decisions in their families. Mothers also wanted to take part in advocacy about issues. Mothers related to the issue of global motherhood and related with opportunity to prevent disease and save lives.
UNF focused on “Mommy Bloggers” and began with asking them to take actions they were comfortable with such as writing messages on Facebook and moving them on curve to more impactful actions such as meeting with their members of Congress.
Patrick Bertrand (Global health Advocates) presented experiences of advocating for health and immunization in the European Union and France. They worked to advocate for GAVI replenishment in 2011.
Next, Sipho Moyo (ONE Africa) spoke to advocacy and campaign work in Africanhealth and development. ONE advocated for GAVI replenishment. That campaign was the first time ONE used Twitter as advocacy tool which impacted USAID positively in terms of finances they pledged. They crafted simple messages that were effective at touching peoples’ hearts and inspiring them to take action. ONE Africa enabled local advocates in Africa to meet with key decision-makers whom they had no access to previously. Used petition signed by citizens to advocate with African Union to increase investment in agriculture.
Lubna Hashmat (of the Civil Society Human and Institutional Development Program) presented her experiences in advocating for immunization equity in Pakistan. First, her organization began by organizing local advocates so that they could advocate more effectively with one voice. Then they cultivated a focal person in MOH and a panel of experts who helped them gain access. They worked to sensitize media by conducting a media competition on vaccination. They also conducted research on barriers to immunization and compiled and disseminated best practices of CSOs. This created an accountability forum for District Health Forums. They conducted mass awareness campaigns, village health committees and gender based local human resources.
Fourth, Dr. Majeed Siddiqi (HealthNET-TPO) discussed best practices and challenges in advocating for immunization equity in Afghanistan. He outlined the severe situation in his country and explained that only 5 percent of the population had healthcare ten years ago. There has been a lot of improvement in healthcare over the past decade despite the fact that there is still civil war and a number of opposing factions ruling the country. His organization focused at community/village level to support them to take ownership of their healthcare. His organization is now providing health services in 80 percent of the country. They developed policies based on evidence produced. Met with many stakeholders to make sure there is agreement and sustainable financing long term. Use different approaches for different situations.
Nelson Sewankambo (of the Uganda National Academy of Sciences) raised the benefits of utilizing evidence as an effective tool in advocacy around health and immunization equity.
Throughout this high-level session, the audience was engaged in the discussion of how to most effectively advocate for immunization in different contexts.