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The Nursing Now Challenge & Sabin Vaccine Institute Announce Immunization Advocacy Champions Winners

This blog was originally published by the Nursing Now Challenge.

Sabin Vaccine Institute’s Immunization Advocates and the Nursing Now Challenge ran a Nursing Now Challenge Global Solutions Initiative (NNCGSI) to expand nurses and midwives efforts, elevate the voices and perspectives, and influence discussions and decisions on improving vaccine acceptance and demand in their communities and around the world. The storytelling challenge lasted from October to December of 2022, and we are delighted to announce the winners!

Our winners will now take part in a six-week storytelling training course led by People Power Health to support them in developing ideas based on their experience, to tailor nuanced support within the communities in which they live and work. Winners will also receive $1,000 to develop their advocacy activity and have become members of the Immunization Advocacy Champions group.

All of the winners have experienced examples of vaccine hesitancy and how to get around those issues through giving persuasive, factual advice to people to improve public health. Our six winners are listed below – click on their photos to read where they’re from and their reaction to winning the NNCGSI.

And watch this space for updates throughout the training and how they bring their fantastic ideas into fruition.

“Nurses and midwives deliver the majority of health services around the world and are crucial gatekeepers for families and communities to make informed decisions about vaccines and immunizations,” said Vince Blaser, Director of Sabin’s Immunization Advocates Initiative. “As policymakers make decisions about vaccine rollouts and routine immunization campaigns, Nurses and Midwives’ stories can help lead the push for vaccine equity and acceptance in all communities.”

The winners of this challenge are:

A picture of a woman smiling

Aidah Nagirinya, Uganda

Aidah Nagirinya is a registered Nurse and a District Coordinator for Maternal, Child Health and Nursing services in Kalungu District, Rural Uganda.

Aidah is also a 2021 D-prize winner and team lead for Screensavers initiative, an equity project that contributes to reduction in morbidity and mortality due to cervical cancer by increasing access to cervical cancer screening using VIA among populations with unmet need.

Aidah is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Health at The University of Manchester, UK.

“I feel honored to be selected as a winner of the NNCGSI. This award gives me self-confidence and more duty to further my work in contributing to immunization access and equity.” said Aidah. “I look forward to connecting with a vibrant global community full of sharing and learning opportunities that Nursing Now Challenge offers. Using my own experience and that gained from the professional development course, I will support fellow Nurses and Midwives to have a voice in ensuring vaccine access and equity. Thank you for giving us this chance to connect, share and grow together.”


A picture of a man smilingHassan Hussain, Sudan

Hassan is a Community and Public Health Nurse who is interested in health systems and policies. He is the Deputy Coordinator of the Nursing Program at Nahda College in Khartoum, Sudan, as well as the Reporter of Sudan’s National Specialization Board of Nurses.

In addition, Hassan works for a private think tank in Khartoum as a Policy Analyst and Researcher.

“What I am feeling right now is indescribable, and I am so grateful to have been chosen.” said Hassan. “Meanwhile, I am overjoyed to be able to advocate for improved immunization opportunities for those who lack access and are in desperate need of the vaccine. I am excited and determined to make the most of this opportunity in order to achieve the impact that I am eagerly waiting for.”


Photo of a female nurse smiling

Lois Ezebuiro, Nigeria

Lois Ezebuiro is a Staff Nurse at Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital and graduate of the University of Ibadan.

Lois is passionate about social impact and environmental sustainability and has taken on various leadership roles in organizations that align with her values. She aspires to create a world where there is zero hunger, equitable distribution of resources and opportunities, and access to clean drinking water in a healthy environment. Lois is determined to do her part to create a better world, regardless of the magnitude of the challenges ahead.

After learning she had won a place, Lois said: “I am thrilled to be a recipient of this prestigious award and I look forward to employing the skills learnt from the training, especially the storytelling for impact, to promote the cause of immunization advocacy in Africa.”


Niba Clinton Ambe, Cameroon

Niba Clinton Ambe is a young Nurse Leader and has a first class Masters in Medico-Surgical Nursing from the University of Buea in Cameroon.

Niba has over five years of demonstrated experience in compassionate nursing care, community health nursing research, teaching and community advocacy on access to healthcare services by the disenfranchised population.

He is a recipient of the Burdett Nursing Trust Scholarship 2022 for the Global Health Conference in South Africa, a recipient of the Cameroon presidential excellent grant, a member of the Global Health Network, the Global Research Nurses, Nursing Now Challenge, and Cameroon Nurses Association which is affiliated to the Commonwealth Federation of Nurses and Midwives Federation. He also coordinates the health board committee and fosters health promotional activities among church members locally.

Niba has a keen interest in understanding how Cameroon’s policies results in improvements or barriers in access to vaccines.

“When I first saw the subject of the email, I was so excited and overwhelmed with joy! I started shedding tears of joy for being a winner of the NNCGSI, and seeing my dreams comes true as a Nurse leader, health advocate and a positive change agent,” said Niba. “Finally, I was told myself that I could bring a significant change to Nursing and promote healthy living among Cameroonians. Through storytelling and other health promotional approaches, I believe I will be able to make a positive impact and improve vaccine uptake among all classes of people in my country.”


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Patrick Gould, Australia

Patrick Gould is a Mental Health Nurse who took an interest in immunization before the pandemic, by running drop in influenza vaccine clinics in an inpatient mental health service.

During the pandemic, Patrick used his experience from running the influenza clinics to rapidly set up a co-designed COVID-19 vaccine clinic to improve vaccine equity for people who access mental health services, who experience a wide range of barriers in accessing conventional vaccination services. The clinic has since been funded as a pilot, and to expand to two more sites and covering all vaccines.

Patrick is also currently working towards completing a research Masters degree on vaccine equity in people with severe mental illness.

“I felt so honored to have been selected as a winner. I have been working hard to build my networks among immunization advocates outside of mental health and Australia, and this is the perfect opportunity to do so,” said Patrick. “I hope that the program will allow me to develop vaccination promotional material that captures the stories and experiences of mental health service users who are passionate about immunization, and want to support others in their situation to receive immunization. The material will then be distributed throughout the vaccine clinics in my service, and hopefully throughout the country through the Equally Well Australia network.”


Rukaya Mumuni, GhanaA picture of a woman smiling

Rukaya Timalimba is a Senior Nursing Officer, working at the Ga West Municipal Hospital in Accra, Ghana.

Rukaya works as a Nurse and a Public Health Officer at the sub-national level of Ghana Health Service.

“I opened my emails to check them and then, wow, I saw the congratulations for winning the challenge,” Rukaya said. “I was so excited and could not hide it from my family! I hope to reduce vaccine hesitancy and improve vaccine uptake in the communities I serve.”

Through the Immunization Advocacy Champions initiative, Sabin’s Immunization Advocates program is partnering with the Nursing Now Challenge to support nurses and midwives around the world in sharing their expertise, voices, and experiences in advocating for immunization locally and globally.

Read more about the Immunization Advocacy Champions here.

Read more about this Immunization Advocacy Champions NNCGSI here.

You can find all of the NNCGSI webinars here.