Rockefeller Foundation inaugurates US$7.4M vaccination network for Africa

AFRICA – The Rockefeller Foundation has initiated a US$7.4M health initiative dubbed Vaccination Action Network (VAN) that is focused on engaging public health decision-makers across Sub-Saharan Africa and building resilient health systems in Africa beyond the COVID-19 pandemic response.

The private foundation further stated that VAN is supporting Amref Health Africa through a US$5 million grant to design and implement tailored strategies that better reflect local needs and address demand barriers for increased vaccine uptake.

In addition, Sabin Vaccine Institute and Dalberg will host the Secretariat of the new VAN and Amref Health Africa will administer subgrants to local organizations in participating countries to support the implementation of vaccine demand generation strategies discussed during the learning sessions.

The Vaccination Action Network is a locally-led, peer-to-peer learning initiative designed to engage public health decision-makers across sub-Saharan Africa and bolster their efforts to strengthen health systems while scaling up COVID-19 vaccine demand strategies.

According to the Rockefeller Foundation, VAN represents the Global Vaccination Initiative (GVI)’s first major investment in overcoming low vaccine demand in Africa particularly to support country-led efforts to fully vaccinate 90% of the most at-risk populations in Africa over the next two years.

VAN will facilitate the establishment of new communication channels that will consistently elevate regional learnings, solutions and leadership such as providing a platform for those directly involved in vaccination campaigns to voice their concerns about what needs to change to improve vaccination rates.

The Rockefeller Foundation revealed that the Vaccination Action Network is connecting ministry of health officials, implementing partners and other key actors across Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda through activities designed to take place within and between countries.

The private foundation explained that the network creates a unique platform for relevant healthcare stakeholders in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda to discuss best practices for boosting local demand for COVID-19 vaccines, adding that there are strategic plans for expansion into other African countries.

Dr. Diana Atwine, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health in Uganda acknowledged that the Vaccination Action Network’s community-based approach brings together our counterparts from across the region and country.

The newly launched vaccination initiate comes at a time Africa’s COVID-19 vaccine uptake is hugely impacted by a combination of complex delivery scenarios, limited access to vaccination centers and other ongoing demand barriers and waning concerns about COVID-19 infection.

The Rockefeller Foundation announced that the Vaccination Action Network’s objective is to help decision-makers understand the drivers behind vaccination and support initiatives that will increase COVID-19 vaccine uptake.

The network aims to strengthen routine immunization as well as ensure health systems are better equipped to respond to emergencies in line with the Foundation’s regional commitment to support localized solutions, empower community representatives and create more resilient health systems.

Moreover, the Vaccination Action Network initiative focuses on working with trusted community members and leaders to equip them with the tools they need to encourage greater uptake of vaccines within their communities.

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