Piloting digital tools to collect community level data on Behavior Social Drivers(BeSD) for COVID-19 vaccination project launched in Zambia

Group photo: Meeting participants &stakeholders with Dr. Alex Makupe - Director Clinical care & Diagnostics who represented the permanent secretary Zambia MoH
From left to Right-BeSD project Team: Kim Bonner(CDC), Maggie Chambeshi (Akros), Sara Hanyinza(AFENET),Talya Shragai (CDC),Jacob Bibohere(AFENET), Christina Riley(Akros)

Covid 19 vaccination uptake has remained low in most sub-Saharan African countries despite intense campaigns across the region. As at end of June 2022 only 20.9% of the population in Africa had been fully vaccinated below the target coverage of 70% set by WHO.

Relatedly there has been no consistent comparable data on vaccine demand to explain possible reasons of low vaccine uptake at community and individual level. More so, methodological gaps exist, for instance traditional methods of collecting community level behavior social drivers (BeSD) data like household surveys are expensive and time-intensive whereas traditional survey methods are usually periodic, and not routine.

It is against this background that the US CDC in collaboration with the Zambia Ministry of Health, AFENET and WHO are piloting new methods for collecting community level BeSD data using digital tools in Zambia, a WHO AFRO region priority country for COVID vaccine support. The data will be integrated into existing MoH information system structures and used to increase vaccine demand.

The project’s primary of objective is to:

  • Assess methods for collecting BeSD community-level data
  • Assess community level behavioural/social drivers of COVID vaccination in Zambia.

 It is anticipated that project results will describe findings on behavioral social drivers and propose actionable steps to improve COVID-19 vaccine uptake.

A DHIS2 module will be configured for BeSD for COVID-19 vaccination which will support national and subnational routine analysis and use of BeSD data.

As a result, AFENET held an official project launch and stakeholders’ kickoff meeting in Lusaka to discuss the roadmap and activate the key process. The meeting was attended by key dignitaries from the Zambia health ministry. The project will be implemented by Akros Inc as the consultant firm based in Zambia. Other partners in attendance included representatives from WHO, CDC Zambia, Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI), Zambia FETP and Expanded Program for Immunization (EPI).

Presentation from the chief Health promotion officer Mrs Winfreda Mulenga & Talya Epidemiologist at CDC
Presentation from Zambia FETP team and Jacob Bibohere (AFENET)
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