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Advocacy for immunisation: a learning platform to support vaccination together

Gemma Huckerby, Gavi, and Silvia Theodoridis, PATH.

What do Indian Premier League cricketers, a group of Kenyan NGOs and Islamic leaders in Ethiopia have in common? They have all been part of efforts to advocate for vaccination. In the past, people living in different parts of the world might never have heard about their work or had the opportunity to learn from it, but not anymore.

The Advocacy for Immunisation Platform was created to share case studies like these, as well as providing tools and guidance to enable supporters of immunisation to take effective action at national and local levels. This was in recognition of the key role that health advocates play in increasing access to, and uptake of, life-saving vaccines, often by drawing attention to the need to improve immunisation systems, increase coverage rates and ensure equitable access to vaccines.

Since it became available in June this year, engagement with the Platform has gathered speed. Already more than 1,500 immunisation actors and advocates in 113 countries around the world have visited the site. The Platform has the capacity to support up to 5,000 civil society organisations, as well as others active in immunisation advocacy, and we hope that it does.

What does it take to conduct effective and strategic advocacy efforts?

The Platform breaks down the process into 5 modules: THINK, PLAN, CREATE, ACT and ASSESS

Each module provides a ‘toolbox’ with downloadable worksheets and other resources from across the global immunisation community to help organisations systematically develop their strategies and plan of action. There are also a range of illustrations on how to:

  • Mobilise resources for immunisation, from Nigeria and the Ivory Coast
  • Influence the Health or Finance Minister, from Uganda and Kenya
  • Develop advocacy strategies, from DRC and Nigeria
  • Create strong evidence-based messages, from Ethiopia, India and Pakistan
  • Assess your advocacy efforts, from DRC

It is only with the help of strong immunisation advocates worldwide that we can ensure governments, leaders and communities are committed to helping all children access life-saving vaccines, wherever they live and whatever their circumstances.

Following positive feedback from its road-test in Ethiopia, we are looking to build on feedback from you to help make the tool as useful as possible. Our Ethiopian colleagues called it ‘an exhaustive advocacy tool for immunisation’ that is ‘clear and easy to use.’ The Platform is a community tool, and we welcome all your contributions to further enrich it with your country case-studies, toolkits, best practices, and examples of successful advocacy efforts, please do not hesitate to share and contact us.

For our francophone colleagues, good news: the Platform is now available in French.

A big thanks to our colleagues at PATH and the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC/JHU) who developed this tool with the help of WHO, Unicef, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the support of 85 immunisation partners, including CSOs working at global and country level.

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