A novel approach to building evidence for improving communication about childhood vaccinations in low- and middle-income countries: the 'communicate to vaccinate’ (COMMVAC) project

Article type
Lewin S1, Hill S2, Kaufman J2, Galak N2, Kis-Rigo J2, Anderson L3, Bosch-Capblanch X4, Hussein L5, Lin V3, Mahomed H5, Rhoda L5, Robinson P3, ben Saude de Castro Freire S6, Waggie Z5, Wiysonge C5
1Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services and Medical Research Council of South Africa, Norway
2Centre for Health Communi-break cation and Participation, Australian Institute for Primary Care and Ageing, La Trobe University, Australia
3La Trobe University, Australia
4Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Switzerland
5Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town, South Africa
6International Union for Health Promotion and Education, France
Background: Effective provider-parent communication can improve childhood vaccination uptake and strengthen immunization services in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, demand-side interventions to improve vaccination uptake have been neglected and existing rigorous research is often not readily found or easily applicable to LMICs. This makes it difficult for policy makers to use evidence to inform policies and practice.

Objectives: To describe the approaches used by the COMMVAC project to explore, evaluate and disseminate evidence on strategies for improving communication about childhood vaccinations with parents and communities in LMICs.

Methods: COMMVAC uses an innovative combination of methods. First, we are producing a systematic map of communication interventions. Systematic maps use the same rigorous methods as systematic reviews of effects but focus on describing the range of interventions. For each intervention identified, we are extracting information on the populations targeted, settings, intervention purpose and delivery (and evaluation design and outcomes in trials). Second, we are developing a taxonomy of interventions to improve communication around childhood vaccination so as to: (1)understand the relations between different types of interventions; (2)facilitate conceptual mapping of these interventions; and (3)clarify the key purposes of interventions. Third, we will hold deliberative fora with key stakeholders to discuss priorities for systematic reviews of effects, informed by the systematic map and taxonomy. Fourth, we will conduct systematic reviews on high priority topics. Finally, we will produce web-based evidence summaries that translate the review findings into accessible messages for LMICs and allow users to add implementation commentary.

Conclusions: COMMVAC takes a novel approach to building knowledge resources and making more effective use of existing research and practice descriptions. Key outputs will include high quality evidence on the scope and effects of interventions to improve provider-parent communication around vaccination and knowledge resources tailored for LMICs.