Supporting communication for pneumococcal vaccine introductionBAKU, 31 August 2013 - UNICEF Azerbaijan has provided technical assistance on communication to the Ministry of Health (MoH) for the upcoming PCV10 introduction. The first phase of the support included a consultancy to conduct small-scale formative research and a series of in-depth interviews to identify knowledge, attitudes and practices about immunization in general and PCV in particular.
Key informants of the research were mothers of children less than two years of age, mothers refusing vaccination for their children, mothers-in-law, health providers from state run and private clinics, representatives of media and Non-governmental Organizations.
Findings revealed a growing number of parents questioning the necessity or safety of vaccines, the traditional role of grandmothers in decision-making in the family, lack of information about PCV among the public, the role health workers as the key source of information, the increasing role of the private health sector, and the tendency of media to focus mainly on the negative news about vaccines as key issues contributing to children remaining unimmunized.
Based on the research findings, a communication strategy for the smooth introduction of PCV as part of the routine immunization programme was developed with the national focal persons, as well as key messages for each target group. Informational materials for parents, doctors and journalists have been prepared for printing and dissemination.
The strategy also includes longer-term activities aiming to strengthen the health communication capacity of the government institutions, such as the establishment of a communication unit and regular communication mechanisms with the public and media. Also based on the high internet access in the country, MoH will be supported to improve its website providing credible information sources to the public on vaccines and immunization.
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