The Public Engagement project “Promoting Awareness on Maternal Vaccines (PAM)” led by Dr Brenda Okech and Gertrude Nanyonjo commenced on 01 September 2019. We are excited to share a progress report including first impressions of activities and events.
The UVRI-IAVI HIV Vaccine Program received funding from IMPRINT network to promote maternal and childhood vaccination among Fishing Communities (FCs) along Lake Victoria. The project commenced with a launch at Koome Sub-County, where all key stakeholders from Mukono and Wakiso Districts are located. The objectives below and how they are to be reached were shared.
It was a colorful and successful launch that attracted 120 attendees including 43 women. Key stakeholders from different nearby communities were present such as District Health Teams, health service providers, Village Health Team members and political and non-political leaders at all levels. Among the service providers represented, Koome Health Center 1V, Makerere Walter Reed Project, Nsazi Health centre 11 and Wagagai Health center attended the launch.
The UVRI-IAVI team extended their gratitude to the community for always sharing community challenges and concerns. Without such information, funds from IMPRINT network would not be at hand, in particular for hard to reach areas such as FCS. Reasons why mothers/girls should be vaccinated were shared and the objectives of the study were reemphasized. Attendees were excited and showed interest in the study. It was suggested during the launch that the frequency of community health outreaches should be increased. The meeting was crowned with a vote of thanks to all those that attended by the host, Sub-County Chief of Koome.
The UVRI-IAVI introduced the project to the school student leaders and teachers and asked them to be part of the initiative. This includes sensitizing communities and fellow students on maternal and childhood immunization through drama and role plays in collaboration with Wagagayi Health center 11. The request was warmly accepted and support offered.
We are awaiting protocol approval to initiate a major sensitization effort through community radios, community meetings and by administering questionnaires.
The project kicked off as expected and successfully. The communities are excited about the project and very much willing to support it.
Dr Chris Gale from Imperial College London provided new insights about the impact of COVID-19 on the health of neonates in a webinar organised by IMPRINT.