ACCESS project is an 18-month multi-pronged approach at the community and facility levels in two States (Kano and Kaduna States) and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)
Funded by MacArthur Foundation and implemented by Pathfinder Nigeria through four (4) partners: Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria (PPFN), SAPPHITAL Learning Limited, Nigeria Interfaith Action Association (NIFAA) and Vaccine Network for Disease Control.
The project aims to curb vaccine hesitancy, improve equitable access to quality vaccine services in selected facilities, and strengthen accountability mechanisms for vaccine delivery in the health system of supported states through the following objectives:
- Increased acceptance of COVID-19 vaccine services, particularly for those underserved
- Increased access and uptake to equitable quality COVID-19 vaccine services at facility and community levels.
- Enhanced enabling environment for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines
As a partner, VNDC worked through three key objectives:
- Assessment of the current surveys, researches, and articles on stakeholder and community perceptions regarding COVID 19 vaccine services through a desk review, Key Informant Interviews with key government officials and community leaders on the level of COVID-19 vaccine uptake.
- Strengthening the capacity of local CSOs and networks to effectively advocate for COVID-19 vaccine uptake in communities and engage in the State-led Accountability Mechanism (SLAM) to harmonize subnational efforts for increased uptake of COVID-19 vaccines.
- Supporting government efforts in social mobilization programs for COVID-19 vaccine services
Activities so far:
Coordination: VNDC facilitated the engagement meetings with the FCT- and State PHCB team and the project team. We also coordinated and amplified local CSOs’ advocacy contributions to COVID-19 vaccine uptake.
Capacity Building: CSOs are the deepest penetrating individuals within any community health ecosystem aside from the health workers themselves, they can enhance the COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and coverage by amplifying and deepening behaviour change messages while lifting community concerns and insights to support robust policy shaping and action. To harness their power, their capabilities must be developed to address specific misinformation and allay fears within the communities.
VNDC facilitated capacity building of CSOs through training, learning and sharing of best practices to increase COVID-19 vaccine acceptance.
Data Collection and Analysis: Based on the desk review conducted at the beginning of the project, challenges identified and Pathfinder specific requirements for this intervention, VNDC conducted key informant interviews (KII) with community and state leaders in health and development to fill in the existing gaps and answer key questions that may have arisen during the desk review. The results has been analyzed and the output utilized for a civil society and state engagement.
Social Mobilization: The overall strategy is community-based, community driven and community owned. This includes:
- Advocacy – meeting with traditional leaders on the need for vaccine acceptance in their communities
- Community engagement and mobilization – through town hall meetings
- Tertiary Institutions’ engagement – Sensitization meeting for 50 persons each in 2 institutions each for one state.
Accountability Mechanism: VNDC encouraged the inclusion and participation of the CSO-Led Accountability Mechanism in all relevant areas, developed and updated the scorecards through dialogue and involvement of different CSO representatives of different community groups (women groups, youth groups, people with special needs, representatives of traditional leaders) to summarize and present COVID-19 vaccine uptake analysis and tracking results. Building an accountability mechanism from CSOs within and beyond the health sector to use evidence in advocacy, accountability, and tracking efforts will help amplify the voice and pressure for the state commitments. It will also ensure a long-lasting coalition that will monitor efforts, progress, and commitments long after the project has ended.