‘Collaboration key to increasing vaccine uptake’

GIRL Effect Country Director Khalila Mbowe has rooted for effective partnership building in sustaining immunisations programmes in the country.

Speaking on the sidelines of a special session of the Primary Health Care Committee (PHC) here on Wednesday, Ms Mbowe insisted that it was only through collaborative efforts Tanzania would see a surge in vaccines uptake.

“As demand creators, we are deliberate in forging the necessary collaborations with service delivery partners in the regions and districts in which we will work. This will allow us to holistically impact missed communities where unvaccinated girls and zero-dose children populations reside; this is a primary target group for us,” she explained.

According to the Tanzanian choreographer, creative performance expert and director, it is crucial to build effective partnership networks across all levels of government, community, education, and the development sector partners in achieving the feat.

She said: “We have set out to unpack these layers. For instance, since parental consent is necessary for girls to get vaccinated, we must integrate parental involvement into our programme design.”

The PHC special session was meant to officially introduce a four-year immunisation programme, a partnership between Girl Effect, Gavi and the Vaccine Alliance.

The objectives of the four-year programme are to increase the uptake of Routine Immunisation for children under two years, increase the uptake of the Human papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccine for girls of 14 years, and finally, improve overall health-seeking behaviours in communities in Tanzania.

Leveraging Girl Effect’s Expertise in Youth-centered Social Behavioural Change Communications (SBCC), the programme will work in selected communities to drive demand for vaccines among young parents, girls, and young women, as well as address the gender barriers that limit vaccine uptake.

During its first year of implementation in Tanzania, the programme will begin activities within select districts in Arusha and Shinyanga regions. Upon careful data analysis, the select districts in Arusha are Arumeru and Monduli DC.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and Girl Effect have worked in partnership since 2016 to drive demand for the HPV vaccine in Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda and Tanzania.

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