Outbreaks often cause panic among the affected population. Information and sensitization activities are therefore essential. Information is disseminated as soon as the outbreak is confirmed.
Communication is coordinated by a technical committee composed of administrative and health officials, leaders, and partners. The committee’s job is to identify sensitization activity needs, draw up the budget and ensure implementation as quickly as possible.
Vaccination campaigns require involvement from all sectors. Messages are transmitted in a variety of settings (health centres/hospitals, schools, public places, places of worship, etc.).
The team responsible for sensitization activities is composed of one person who is in charge and several mobilisers. The person in charge acts as the liaison between the mobilisers and the technical committee.
Messages should contain only the essential points (Appendix 12):
– what: treatment for measles patients and measles vaccination;
– why: outbreak;
– when: dates;
– where: vaccination locations.
It may be necessary to adapt the messages in case there are rumours (e.g., that the vaccine poisons children) or to raise the awareness of a group that is opposed to vaccination.
Depending on the context (urban or rural), cultural habits and available resources, town criers, griots, local personalities, religious or association leaders, radio, TV and text messaging may be used.
4.5.4 The mobilisers’ role
The mobilisers’ job is to disseminate information to the public.
– A few days before the campaign, they:
• identify and contact influential people to inform them;
• visit the neighbourhoods/communes and organise discussions to raise the public’s awareness of the importance of vaccination;
• disseminate the messages as widely as possible (megaphone, radio or other).
– During the campaign, they:
• continue sensitization activities, especially in areas of low vaccination coverage;
• go up and down neighbourhoods encouraging families to take their children to the nearest sites;
• answer any questions;
• report on their activities and any difficulties encountered.
– After the campaign, they report on the strengths and weaknesses and any difficulties encountered.