Throughout the first half of 2021, the Boost Community launched several new programs, initiatives and opportunities for its members. During this period, the Boost Community hosted over 30 live engagements covering topics such as enhancing supportive supervision, vaccine misinformation and a return to routine immunization. These offerings allowed Boost to better understand the needs and challenges faced by immunization professionals.
Key themes that emerged from members include:
The importance of community engagement in ensuring successful rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine
How to prepare for the COVID-19 vaccine and the uncertainty of what that will look like while also maintaining routine immunization activities
How to address challenges related to vaccine hesitancy resulting both from mistrust as well as misinformation
The need to include members of the community and those at the lowest levels of the system in planning and coordination and a general shift from top-down to bottom-up approaches
Boost programs such as the Supportive Supervision Series; Boosting Leadership to Activate Communities; and Reaching Every District Using Quality Improvement (RED-QI) were launched to build capacity for problem-solving.
As countries began introducing the COVID-19 vaccine, the most common theme among members of the Boost Community were around the challenges faced and the need to gain insights to enable a more effective and efficient response to the vaccine. To address this, the Boost Community launched the COVID-19 Listening and Learning Series, which aims to provide a platform for immunization professionals and others involved in COVID-19 vaccine introduction to share their perspectives, learnings, insights and tools related to vaccine introduction.
“We are dealing with a new vaccine and so therefore there are a lot of questions of vaccine confidence and demand generation…There are a lot of uncertainties on what vaccines will be given making it harder to plan and coordinate.”
– Adolphus Clarke, Liberia
Boost continues to be present on the global immunization stage, participating in several global and regional events. In addition, the Boost Community expanded as its membership grew to over 1,500 members representing 130 countries.
“We are engaging with community leaders and religious leaders as they shape the culture of the community – they need to prepare the minds of the community.”
– Attahir Abubakar, Nigeria
Elevating Boost Member Voices
Boost Courses and Trainings
Storytelling for Change – January 2021
From January 11 to February 15, 2021, Boost partnered with People Power Health and Leading Change Network to offer a five-week self-paced course, Storytelling for Change, offered on a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) called EdApp.
Grounded in the practice of social movements and activism, this course provided an opportunity for immunization professionals to learn new skills to generate public emotion, values and action.
The course was open to any immunization professional who was or is responsible for engaging with different stakeholders. Of the 51 course registrants, 92% of accepted individuals actively participated in the course by accessing at least one module of the program. A total of 18 Boost Community members went on to complete the course.
A survey was conducted to measure the overall impact of the course – 92% of survey respondents indicated that their perception of storytelling changed:
“I am using the concept already in building quality surveillance data for decision making. I communicate the instances in which I provided quality data that benefitted staffs and communities. I can draw the feeling of surveillance officers on the need for quality surveillance data and how together we can achieve and sustain that.”
– Ibrahim Mohammed
Boosting Leadership to Activate Communities – February 2021
From February to March 2021, Boost partnered with Adaptive Change Advisors and with People Power Health to offer a six-week course Boosting Leadership to Activate Communities. This course in adaptive leadership and community organizing offered EPI professionals new approaches to launching and managing immunization campaigns.
Each module of the course focused on a different theme such as Connecting Adaptive Challenges to Story of Self; Leadership v. Authority; and Campaign Timeline and Tactics. According to participants, the most impactful modules were on topics related to Leadership v. Authority; Zooming in on Adaptive Challenge in the Context of Campaigns; Connecting the Adaptive Challenge to Story of Self; and Adaptive Experiment Design.
There were 34 countries represented during the course, with 42 national-level participants and 82 participants from the sub-national level. A total of 62 individuals actively participated in the course by attending at least one week of the course, while 27 participants went on to complete the course.
Supportive Supervision Workshop Series – April 2021
Boost, in partnership with John Snow, Inc. (JSI) and Immunization Academy, offered a four-part workshop series focused on improving and enhancing supportive supervision for immunization services.
This series provided supervisors with skills and resources to help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the supervision process. Upon attending all sessions of the workshop series, participants received a certificate of completion.
The workshop had a total of 310 unique registrants, with the top six countries represented being Nigeria, Ghana, Pakistan, India, Somalia and Kenya. Approximately half (49.3%) of those who registered for the workshop actively (i.e., attended at least 1 live session) participated in the series. Furthermore, 29.4% of active participants went on to complete the course. A total of 45 immunization professionals went on to complete the course (48% at the sub-national level and 28% at the national level).
Advanced Community Activation Training – May 2021
Community organizing and movement building provides a framework to work towards a shared goal and a common purpose. It gives immunization professionals a platform to establish long-term and transformative relationships with service users and other community members, with all partners committing and contributing towards achieving equitable vaccination.
Boost, in partnership with People Power Health, have been hosting a virtual fellowship focused on building, developing, and deepening leadership skills for advocacy and community organizing.
The training, launched in May and scheduled to run through August, is geared towards strengthening collaboration and leadership capacity to achieve specific advocacy and community activation goals and improve immunization efforts. The inaugural cohort includes 21 Boost members who were individually chosen based on their previous participation in Boost programming, specifically related to community building and storytelling.
Reaching Every District Using Quality Improvement (RED-QI) Discussion Series – May 2021
Boost, in partnership with John Snow, Inc. (JSI), hosted a three-part weekly discussion series in May on the lessons learned from ten years of implementation of the Reaching Every District using Quality Improvement Tools (RED-QI) approach in Ethiopia and Uganda.
The series examined how the approach can help achieve equity and reduce the number of unvaccinated children through building capacity for problem-solving within the system for sustainable improvements.
Qualifications to participate in this course included immunization professionals at the sub-national and national levels who are new to the methodology and/or interested in adapting the approach (or elements thereof) in their work.
The course had 206 unique registrants – 58% of those who registered for this series went on to attend at least one session of the series. As with many other Boost offerings, the majority of participants were at the sub-national and national levels of the system.
New Boost Initiatives
COVID-19 Listening & Learning Series – April 2021
With the ongoing global introduction of COVID-19 vaccines, immunization professionals face enormous challenges related to vaccine delivery, including identification and prioritization of target populations, effective supply chain management and rapid, sufficient uptake of vaccination.
On April 12, Boost launched the ten-month COVID-19 Listening and Learning Series, which provides a platform for immunization professionals as well as others involved in COVID-19 vaccine delivery to share their perspectives on vaccine introduction with particular emphasis on transferable lessons learned and recommendations.
Be sure to check out COVID-19 Vaccines: What is the Role for Civil Society?, the global good from the second session of the COVID-19 Listening and Learning Series on May 25, 2021. This resource is a collection of the challenges, thoughts and calls to action expressed by our esteemed and diverse group of panelists who discussed the role of civil society organizations (CSOs) in advocating for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. Additional insights and key takeaways can be found here.
Sparks – May 2021
Sparks is a new spotlight series from the Boost Community that was launched in May 2021. Through this series, Boost surfaces elements of real-time immunization activities or programs that demonstrate innovation or adaptability. Sparks will focus on unique or impactful solutions during pivotal moments that result in the increase of equitable vaccine access and demand in communities all over the world.
Sparks will take the form of a short publication, video or audio clip that will be shared through the Boost Community via the Bright Spots microsite. By disseminating these insights widely, we will foster a space of collaboration and learning that focuses on the improvement of immunization efforts everywhere. Share your Sparks story.
Bright Spots (Round 2) – June 2021
A Bright Spot is a story of grassroots-driven, incremental innovation in routine immunization service delivery at the sub-national level.
Boost is excited to continue the Bright Spots initiative with the release of another round of stories. New stories were released starting in June 2021 and over the next few months, Boost will highlight even more stories of immunization professionals that illustrate resourcefulness, adaptability and resilience – particularly in the face of COVID-19.
Boost continues to highlight these published stories in an ongoing webinar series. Most recently, hosted two live engagements that featured the work of Boost Community members Huma Khawar, a Communications Specialist who supports immunization programs in Pakistan; and Dr. Attahir Abubakar, Technical Assistant for the State and Local Government Area Emergency Routine Immunization Coordination Center (SERICC). These webinars allowed participants to learn more about how their teams engaged with a diverse set of stakeholders to improve immunization coverage in their respective communities.