It's Everyone's Business

Private sector partnerships for increased vaccination uptake in the Middle East and North Africa

It's Everyone's Business Cover Photo


Why this guide?

Prior to COVID-19, the MENA region presented a high coverage (90%) for routine childhood vaccinations,1 indicating a historically high acceptance of vaccination. This trend reversed during the pandemic, as research showed that the region had one of the lowest COVID-19 acceptance rates globally.2 A range of barriers amplify low vaccine acceptance, even when vaccines are available. According to the Behavioural Drivers Model (BDM),3 these barriers can be considered at three levels:

  • Psychological and individual barriers
  • Sociological barriers,
  • Environmental and systems barriers


Using social and behavioural change (SBC) approaches, practitioners can design effective solutions to tackle the barriers that are most evident in their countries. 

Private sector partnerships have the potential to support SBC outcomes around vaccination. Mutual engagement on health and social issues can also be beneficial to the private sector by increasing brand awareness and improving its reputation and trust. They can also help diversify a consumer base and reduce the impact of the pandemic on operational capacity. Businesses can also be used to serve our communities by leveraging its assets, marketing capacity, as well as its voice and expertise. This guide captures examples from the COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in the MENA region, with a view to helping programme managers, policymakers and public and private organisations benefit from applying social and behavioural sciences to broader vaccination challenges across different contexts. Understanding how private sector engagement has been beneficial during the pandemic and framing it in social and behavioural sciences will allow us to respond and scale more effectively in the next health emergency.

What is it about?

This guide builds a case for private sector partnerships, highlighting how businesses can leverage their assets, expertise, voice and influence to increase vaccination in the MENA region. It presents 12 concrete partnership ideas to address the barriers people may face in the vaccination journey and showcases relevant experiences and case studies from vaccination against COVID-19 in the region. These ideas can be utilised to inform and support not only ongoing COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, but also broader vaccination efforts. This guide also contains insights into the barriers to engagement for businesses and potential motivators that could be leveraged to encourage businesses to get involved.

Who should use it?

This guide will be useful to public sector practitioners working in public health, vaccination, and partnerships. Private sector organisations will find it equally useful in order to explore partnership opportunities with public sector organisations such as UNICEF. 

How should you use it?

This tool can be used without any prior knowledge of social and behavioural sciences. You can use it as an inspiration for designing your programmes and activities. Bear in mind that these ideas will need to be refined and tested in local contexts before applying and scaling them up. 

How was it developed

We conducted a rapid desk review and a series of consultations with UNICEF Country Offices in the region to collect case studies of private sector partnerships. We have highlighted the value of behavioural science in these examples and suggested ways of capitalising on behavioural insights in our work.  A co-design workshop with the private sector was held to test the approach and ideas presented in  this guide.

It's Everyone's Business: Private sector partnerships for increased vaccination uptake in the Middle East and North Africa
Publication date