It’s no exaggeration to say that quality data is intrinsic to VillageReach’s core values of excellence and innovation. It allows us to actualize those values by enabling everyone, from patients to policy makers, to make informed decisions that improve health outcomes.
That is why VillageReach hosts its own Data Use Award, presented internally to individuals or teams that have shown excellence in the presentation and application of data to shift strategies towards improving health outcomes, and it is little surprise that in August, the Data Use Award winners were VillageReach’s COVID-19 High-Volume Site team.
The award follows the team’s success in leveraging data to drive the vaccination of more than 307,000 people across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Côte d’Ivoire (CI) as of October 2022.
Let’s explore how they did it and the role that data collection and application played.
A People-Centered Flexible Approach to COVID-19 Vaccination
The COVID-19 High-Volume Sites investment objective was to build COVID-19 vaccinodromes (the French-language term for vaccination site) in both DRC and CI.
The goal was to vaccinate approximately 500-1000 people per day, as well as amplify and disseminate learnings and embed technical assistance with regional partners in the countries.
In order to achieve these goals, the DRC and CI teams conducted weekly reviews of vaccine service data Based on these data, the teams would pivot the strategy as needed. The team also relied upon an exit survey to understand client profiles and reasons for lowsite attendance.
Early on in the implementation of the vaccinodromes attendance was lower than expected. From the exit survey, they learned that 60% of people interviewed recommended door-to-door and community strategies to reach and vaccinate more people. Additionally, 30% heard about the vaccination sites from community health workers (CHWs), 14% from radio or TV, and 3% from Facebook.
Originally, the vaccinodromes were fixed sites, but the team used this data from the surveys to partner with each country’s Ministry of Health (MoH) and shift to more outreach sessions, where vaccinators would leave the site to vaccinate people in the community or at their workplace.
Outreach sessions later contributed to 75% of all vaccinations.
“We learned we had to be flexible. We started with a large site and then we realized that we could reduce the size of the site, and with these resources we created other small sites as well,” said Freddy Nkosi, VillageReach DRC Country Director, in a video about the vaccinodromes.
Additionally, in DRC, they also saw how effective CHWs were in getting people to the sites, and invested in their monthly support and training. Increased outreach efforts and investments in CHWs led to over 50% being referred by CHWs, up from 30% initially.
And finally, the DRC team developed gender-specific demand generation activities to increase the proportion of women vaccinated at the sites from 28% to 44%.
As a result of these efforts, over 307,000 people have been vaccinated as of October 2022 in both DRC and CI.
Positive Impact from Shift in Strategy
Many in the DRC and CI – from governments to those who received the vaccine – felt the positive impact that resulted from pivoting vaccination strategies based upon the application of data.
“We are fully backing the government’s strategy to increase the number of vaccinated people. So every time there is an intensification campaign for vaccination the government is asking us how the vaccinodrome and proximity [outreach] strategies could help them to get better results,” said Yvan Agbassi, CI’s Country Lead, in a video that talks about how VillageReach supports the MoH vaccination target through outreach strategies.
By coordinating with government and working to meet people where they are through a data-driven shift in strategy, VillageReach learned that it is possible to turn the tide on low vaccine uptake.
To learn more about how data was leveraged to drive a people-centered COVID-19 vaccination campaign in the Cote d’Ivoire, click here.