Communication and Demand Promotion for COVID-19 Vaccination Technical Assistant (Dire Dawa)

ABH Partners PLC

Purpose: To provide technical support on the national rollout of COVID-19 vaccine and to ensure that public acceptance and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines in Ethiopia is adequate with effectively planned, developed, implemented and monitored social mobilization and other communication activities and interventions ultimately ensured interruption of the virus transmission is achieved.

Salary Not Available

Contract


Dire Dawa

Career Level
Senior Level
Type of corporation
Company size

Location: Dire Dawa Health Bureaus
Duration: 10 months (10 July 2022 to 9 May 2023)
No. of consultant: One
Start Date: 10 July 2022
Reporting to: EPI team of MOH in collaboration with UNICEF ECO C4D Specialist at Health Section
1. Background and Justification
World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, WHO’s highest level of urgency. On 11 March, WHO made the assessment that COVID-19 could be characterized as a pandemic. On March 13, the first confirmed COVID-19 case was declared by the Ministry of Health of Ethiopia. By November 25, 2020, 106,591 positive cases and 1,661 passed away with COVID-19. 62.2% of the cases are community transmission and 14.6% are contact with confirm case. On 3 August 2020, Ethiopia announced the rollout of a mass testing and community mobilization campaign followed by intensified Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) interventions. As of 1 December 2020, more than 40 million people in Ethiopia have been reached with key messages on COVID-19.

The COVAX Facility, one of three key pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is a global collaboration co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines and to guarantee fair and equitable access globally. Vaccines will be the most effective means to protect the populations from corona virus while key behaviors still going to be important to continue. As only limited number of vaccines will be available in the early days, it is crucial to have a well-rounded communication plan to provide accurate and timely information to the communities on the vaccine, eligible population for each cohort and importance to continue preventive behaviors such as wearing mask, handwashing and physical distancing even after vaccination.

In Ethiopia, the Ministry of Health has successfully launched COVID-19 vaccine at national, regional and city administrations level on 13th March 2021 by vaccinating health workers and support staffs followed by next target group vaccination based on prioritization. As of May 10, 2021, a total of 1,361,669 target populations vaccinated.  However, since the launching date, the vaccine uptake by the target population took prolonged time. Also, the COVID-19 cases and deaths are increasing which needs collective action to mitigate the pandemic and intensify the control and prevention measures.  The Ministry is expecting the next successive vaccine shipments to address the 20% (more than 20 million) of a target population so that a lot of continuing activities remained to be performed for the national rollout and continued implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the process. The Federal Ministry of Health formed the Communication, Demand and Community Engagement Working Group on COVID-19 vaccine introduction in early November 2020.

In order to ensure vaccine uptake and buy-in, community trust plays a vital role. As it will be a new vaccine, the communities will have many questions including about the vaccine, its safety, who approved the vaccine, the effectiveness of the vaccine, potential side-effects, and so on. Thus, the demand, communication and community engagement plan need to be robust in order to address those issues. Risk/crisis communication also needs to be part of the overall demand plan for addressing rumors, fake news and potential adverse events after vaccination. The plan also needs to ensure specific strategies to reach the vulnerable groups, such as marginalized populations living in conflict or post-conflict settings, or within large refugee or migrant populations.

The Ministry of Health (MOH), in collaboration with partners, has been working on the prevention and response of COVID-19 pandemic to halt its spread and reduce the negative impact of the pandemic. So far Ethiopia received 2.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine by COVAX facility. The COVID-19 vaccine introduction will be undertaken in a phased approach based on population risk levels, global availability of COVID-19 vaccines, and operational feasibility. During phase 1, about 20% of the population will be addressed based on the target prioritization done. During phase 2, Ethiopia will expand the COVID-19 vaccination to the general population of eligible age groups for vaccination, depending on vaccine supply availability.

Hence, the MOH in collaboration with UNICEF Ethiopia Country Office, is seeking assistance in the form of a consultancy equivalent to 18 months to provide technical support on the national and subnational rollout of COVID-19 vaccine and to ensure that public acceptance and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines in the country is adequate with effectively planned, developed, implemented and monitored social mobilization and other communication activities and interventions ultimately ensured interruption of the virus transmission is achieved.

2. Purpose

The overall objective of this consultancy is to provide technical support on the national and sub-national rollout of COVID-19 vaccine and to ensure that public acceptance and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines in the country/region is adequate with effectively planned, developed, implemented and monitored social mobilization and other communication activities and interventions ultimately ensured interruption of the virus transmission is achieved.

3. Specific Tasks

Under the overall guidance and supervision of the Ministry EPI unit and technical support from C4D Specialist (Health Section of UNICEF Ethiopia), the technical assistant will be responsible for the coordination of communication technical working group at the regional/sub-national level to accelerate demand generation approaches and strategies to promote evidence-based Social and Behavior Change interventions including social mobilization, advocacy, community engagement, community empowerment, social listening, monitoring and evaluation for the COVID-19 vaccine introduction in Ethiopia.

Key responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Provide technical support to EPI team of MOH/RHB and Communication Technical Working Group (C-TWG) to ensure the demand generation strategies and approaches are developed and implemented to reach the eligible population with COVID-19 vaccine
• Coordinate the regular C-TWG meetings and ad-hoc meetings as necessary including preparation of meeting agenda, meeting minutes and follow up the action points
• Ensure that C-TWG is supported to develop plans and activities to promote acceptance among the prioritized population of national and sub-national COVID-19 vaccine rollout, increase trust in health and immunization services, and generate demand and uptake for COVID-19 vaccine among eligible population
• Develop, maintain, and update the demand generation strategy with approaches, plans and activities geared towards generating demand for COVID-19 vaccine and other primary health care (PHC) services as needed
• Support the development and endorsement of contextualized C4D activities for the vaccine introduction at the central/sub-national level including development, review and pre-testing of multi-channel communication materials
• Coordinate with the government and media agencies at the central/sub-national level on regular public opinion monitoring and social listening particularly on rumors, fake news, media coverage on AEFI cases and misinformation around COVID-19 vaccines and broader immunization services
• Provide support for capacity building of frontline health workers, social mobilizers, media and hotline operators on demand generation activities including risk communication plan at the national/sub-national level
• Facilitate and participate in monitoring and evaluation for demand generation and risk communication activities for the COVID-19 vaccine introduction including conducting rapid assessment for public awareness, acceptance, hesitancy and trust around the new vaccine and field visits to regions in close collaboration with MOH/RHV and partners at the sub-national level
• Ensure approaches used are inclusive, consultative and participatory to carry along all stakeholders
• Collect human-interest stories from the field on the voices and experiences of communities and stakeholders around the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the specific regions/city administrations
• The technical assistant will need to present the draft documents as well as the monthly reports and final report to MOH/RHB
• At the beginning of the assignment, the consultant is expected to produce and agree with MOH/RHB on work plan schedules for the assignment period
• Capture and share lesson learned and good practices that can potentially leverage the routine immunization and outbreak response practices
• Participate in COVAX post introduction evaluation exercise at national/sub-national level
• Perform any other activity as required by national/sub-national EPI manager
• Ensure the operationalization of COVID-19 precautions during immunization services provision  
• Facilitate and monitor timely budget utilization and liquidation of COVID-19 implementation budget and other RI budget at the sub-national level in collaboration with MOH/RHB
• Frequent traveling to regions/woredas/zones/communities as necessary
• Submit a detail final report at the end of the assignment

4. Expected Deliverables and Timeline

No. Deliverables Deadline Payment
1. Submission of report with detailed demand generation plans with roles and responsibilities, timeline and associated budget after consultation with the EPI team of MOH/RHB Monthly  Monthly payment:

10 Jul. 2022 – 9 Nov. 2023

2. Submission of guidance/protocol for the rapid assessment on key knowledge, risk perception, behaviours and social drivers for COVID-19 vaccination among prioritized population at the sub-national level Bi-annual 
3. Social and behaviour of COVID-19 vaccination data collected and analysed at the sub-national/community level Minimum once per every three months 
4. Sharing session on the key findings from the rapid assessment conducted and submission of the assessment report to MOH/RHB and UNICEF  
5. Submission of meeting minutes on the coordination meetings  Bi-weekly 
6. Submission of pretesting results on different communication materials After developing IEC materials 
7. Messages and camera-ready materials are finalized and endorsed by the MOH/RHB After developing IEC materials 
8 Social listening and rumour tracking mechanisms at the regional/sub-national level are functioning Bi-weekly 
9. Trainings completed and field monitoring reports provided Monthly 
10. Submission of documentation of the demand generation process including lesson learned, good practices and human-interest stories Every three monthly

5. Reporting

The consultant will be directly recruited by third party HR contractor and will report to the EPI team of MOH/RHB in close collaboration with UNICEF ECO C4D Specialist at health section.

6. Payment Modality and Schedule

The fees for this contract shall be paid on monthly basis based on the submission of reports/documents against the deliverables indicated above. 
 

7. Expected background and Experience

The consultant must meet the following criteria

• University degree in social science, public health, sociology, anthropology, psychology, communication for development/Social and behavioral change communication or relevant fields
• Minimum of three years of relevant C4D/SBCC experiences in immunization or health sectors in Ethiopia 
• In-depth understanding of Ethiopian communities and key stakeholders at national and regional levels
• Capacity in the designing, planning, monitoring, evaluation, training and skills-transfer of participatory governance in social and behavior change communication interventions
• Proven ability to work effectively with government and multi-stakeholders
• Experience in generating evidence around social and behaviors around health practices
• Capacity in documentation of best practices and lesson learned around SBCC/C4D interventions and collection of human-interest stories from the field
• Language skills: Amharic, English and regional languages would be an asset. 
• Other Skills: Computer literacy with proficient in use of Microsoft Office applications, and statistical software

Suitable candidate: Excellent facilitation, organizational and analytical skills. Excellent inter-personal skills.  Ability to write in a clear and concise manner and to present information in Word and PowerPoint formats.  Ability to manage and analyze basic data in Excel and produce charts/graphs. Basic familiarity with WHO, UNICEF and bilateral agency work in support of vaccination programs and implementation and their practices and procedures. Strong interpersonal skills and work effectively with people at all levels.

Desirable: Previous experience working with MOH, UNICEF or UN agencies. Familiarity or experience with immunization program will be an asset.  

• The consultant will not work from UNICEF office, rather work from MOH/RHB.
• The consultant should use his/her own materials, i.e. computer, mobile phone, internet, printer, etc.
• The consultant will use rented car, when needed (provide by the third-party HR firm).
• The consultant will be paid monthly upon completion of deliverables as indicated on this TOR and approved by the supervisor on monthly basis through the ABH Partners Plc.

Policy both parties should be aware of:

• ABH Partners Plc will manage all the administrative issues and aspects based on the HR’ policies and procedures.
• All remuneration must be within the contract agreement through the third-party ABH Partners Plc.
• No contract may commence unless the contract is signed by both ABH Partners Plc and the consultant.
• Travel will be facilitated after travel request approved by the consultant’s supervisor and managed by the ABH Partners Plc. 
• Consultants will not have supervisory responsibilities or authority on UNICEF budget.