Empowering Frontline Health Workers through Remote training to Combat Vaccine Hesitancy in Ghana
Only Together can we end the COVID-19 pandemic
For health care workers, it can be a challenge finding the time to absorb new lessons given the long and strenuous hours as well as remote locations that they work. UNICEF, in collaboration with Ghana Health Service and digital communications company Viamo, introduced micro remote training that provides audio courses via Agoo, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to nurses on how to combat vaccine hesitancy in the field.
"I participated in the mobile training course and I must say that It was very educative. It centered on and really explained how to talk to patients and potential clients about the COVID-19 vaccination program and how to convince them when they raise doubts. I liked the fact that even if I missed a call, I could call back and listen to the lesson… Some of the approaches I learned about in the lessons were very helpful. In fact, when I used these approaches, I was able to convince some people to go on and take the vaccine even though they were initially hesitant." Lydia - Community Health Nurse from Tanoso Health Center.
Over a period of five weeks, key messages and short tips are delivered through short calls that allowed participants to absorb the information at their own pace. The calls are provided free of charge and can be accessed as many times as needed through the Agoo platform - IVR- a locally incubated Ghanaian mobile platform as well as the online web site Internet of Good Things.
At the beginning of each lesson, an introductory survey is conducted allow participants to self-assess their knowledge level of COVID-19 vaccination and protocols. The courses were then delivered in a series of ten modules that addressed topics such as what it takes to be Influential, and What to Avoid and Social Norms. At the end of each lesson, participants are tested on the content delivered to them. The audio course allows front line health workers to fit in their learning experiences at their own convenience – without disrupting their routine work, allowing them to take the training at any time.
The course gives guidance on how people can handle vaccine hesitancy by paying attention to key issues including attitudes, beliefs, biases, motivations, psychological makeup, as well as other personal factors. It also teaches techniques of effective communication - avoiding judgement, using your body language to show your interest in the person’s values and beliefs, and avoiding things like instilling fear and repeating myths and rumours.
Data collected through Agoo’s platform shows that approximately 842 nurses were able to access the course and 90% of them were able to complete it. When asked about the effect of personal stories, 97% of the nurses correctly answered that personal stories help to build trust and encourage people to follow. On the subject of handling vaccine hesitancy in communities, 97% of the nurses believe that if you find out what someone’s concerns are, you can tailor your communication strategy towards addressing their needs and are more likely to convince them to get vaccinated.
About UNICEF/Viamo Partnership - Agoo
UNICEF and Viamo have been in partnership since 2015 with the aim of designing and co-creating solutions to deliver life-saving information to Ghanaians through mobile technology. Through the Agoo IVR platform -, UNICEF has delivered behaviour change messages to millions of people in Ghana in six (6) local Ghanaian languages widely spoken across the country. With the generous support from MTN Ghana, the largest telecommunication provider in the country, users of Agoo are able to access audio messages free of charge by either dialling 5100 on MTN or calling 054 011 8999 for other network users.
With the outbreak of COVID-19 global pandemic in 2020, the platform became even more useful for not only information sharing but also in launching remote micro training for frontline workers. As this training proved successful with the data gathered so far, UNICEF and Viamo plan to roll out similar training for other frontline staff in education, child protection, and social policy among other programmatic areas.