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Community Conversations on Vaccines, Episode 10

77th UNGA Reflections: Boosting and Sustaining Immunization in African Communities with Esther Nakkazi and Rashid Mang’anda

September 29, 2022

Esther Nakkazi and Rashid Mang'anda reflect on UNGA and consider strategies to build and sustain vaccine access and confidence.

Sabin Vaccine Institute’s Community Conversations on Vaccines, presented by Immunization Advocates, explores issues related to vaccines and immunization in low- and middle-income countries through discussions with close-to-community professionals, including health workers, journalists and researchers.

Co-hosts Vince Blaser and Francesca Montalto are joined in New York City on the sidelines of the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by Esther Nakkazi, health and science journalist, media trainer and Founder of the Health Journalist Network in Uganda, and Rashid Mang’anda, maternal and child health coordinator for the Malawi Ministry of Health and registered nurse, who is also a Sabin-Nursing Now Challenge Immunization Advocacy Champion.

Francesca, Vince, Rashid, and Esther (left to right) record this episode in the studio.

Esther Nakkazi reflects on the role of the media and public institutions in ensuring vaccine equity, effectiveness, and awareness in local African communities, while Rashid Mang’anda shares his experiences as a nurse in rural Southern Malawi and provides recommendations to support health workers, combat misinformation and build trust around vaccination and immunization.

If you want to learn more about Rashid and Esther’s thoughts on the role of health workers, journalists and governments and global health institutions and media in supporting vaccine equity, acceptance and demand, check out the key takeaways of this episode or the transcript.

Key Highlights:

  • 07:20 – 09:00 – The Role of Media in Providing Adequate Awareness in Immunization – There is a need for the community to be aware that these diseases are happening and that outbreaks are emerging, but there is also a remedy in the form of vaccines that can be used to reduce suffering among humans.
  • 09:40 – 12:05 – Investing in Community Health Workers – In Africa, community health workers (CHWs) have to deal with a growing lack of financial and human resources while being asked to perform more tasks without always having the required assistance. Much can not be expected of CHWs as their productivity, the quality of their services, and ultimately the success of the community-based programs that depend on them are negatively impacted by work overload and the required support.
  • 17:03 – 17:40 – Transportation and Housing is a Priority for Health Workers – Healthcare professionals in Malawi must enter the community and travel at least forty kilometers into the mountains and the hamlet to provide primary healthcare services. To minimize their back-and-forth travel, these healthcare workers need a way to get there and somewhere to reside.
  • 21:36 – 22:00 – Benefits from Manufacturing Vaccines in Africa – If vaccines are produced in Africa, the government will finance them, the people will get jobs from the manufacturing plants, and they will be less expensive, which will reduce dependence on the West and facilitate acceptance by the local community.
“Take care of the healthcare workers first, and they will be able to do their jobs well and look after the communities.”
Rashid Mang'anda
Maternal and Child Health Coordinator, Ministry of Health, Malawi, Registered Nurse

Connect with Our Guests

Connect with Esther Nakkazi on Twitter @nakkazi. Learn more about her journalism work:

Connect with Rashid Mang’anda on Twitter @shidomanganda. Learn more about his work as a health worker and advocate:

Photos of Esther and Rashid

Francesca, Vince, Rashid and Esther (left to right) record in a podcast studio

Francesca, Vince, Rashid and Esther (left to right) record in a podcast studio

Rashid works as a nurse in Malawi

Rashid Mang'anda meets and talks with Gavi CEO Seth Berkley at the 77th UN General Assembly

Esther and Rashid speak at a UNGA sideline event

Rashid speaks on the podcast

Sabin staff and partners at East River

Sabin staff and partners at Madison Square Park

“If vaccines are produced in Africa, our governments will finance them, our people will have jobs from them, and they will be less expensive, reducing dependence on the West and facilitating acceptance by the local community.”
Esther Nakkazi
Science and Health Journalist, Media Trainer, Founder of the Health Journalist Network in Uganda

Devex @ UNGA77 in partnership with Sabin Vaccine Institute: Reversing alarming declines in immunization

Frontline Health Workers Coalition @ UNGA Roundtable 2: Listen & Support | Global Action & Alignment for Health Workers