Generating ongoing demand for vaccines and health services in developing countries is complex and difficult. Specific population groups such as nomadic populations, religious communities and people located in remote villages in deserted areas are especially difficult to reach and to convince.
Next to making sure that there are enough vaccines and health supplies available in the country, tools and methods can be used by frontline health workers while interacting with local populations to ensure the uptake of vaccines and health services:
- First, building a trusting relationship with the population is essential to generate demand for vaccines and health services. For example, finding out and engaging leaders from local and religious communities (e.g. spokespersons, influencers, people with a local or national presence within these communities, etc.) is a necessary first step. Giving community leaders a role in making decisions about vaccines and health services delivery increases their uptake.
- Second, empowering frontline workers by providing them with differentiated messages tailored to individual communities increases their ability to convince and counter erroneous or incorrect messages about vaccination.
- Third, in developing countries, improving the uptake of vaccination and health services is correlated with improving education. It is important to educate better and more on the benefits of getting vaccinated. Targeting teachers, who are usually respected figures in their communities, is crucial.
On top of building trust about vaccination and health services uptake across the local populations, there is a need to promote vaccines and health services at the national level. For example, involving the highest level of the state (e.g. the President, First Lady and their children) can send a positive message towards the population.