Communication for Development Consultant to Support Communication and demand generation for the COVID-19 Vaccine (COVAX) Introduction, P3/NOC, 06 months, Kampala
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Uganda is one of the over 190 countries and territories around the world where we work to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease, and discrimination place in a child’s path. Together with the Government of Uganda and partners we work towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, the objectives of the Uganda National Development Plan, and the planned outcomes of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework.
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In January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The outbreak which first started in China has now infected millions of people across the world. As of 13th December 2020, Uganda had registered a total of 27,766 cases with 224 deaths. Of the total cases registered, alerts contribute the most at 43.3% (9,115) followed by contacts at 43.0% (9,052), Health workers 6.9% (1,448), Truck drivers 3.5% (732) and returnees 3.3% (688). Kampala has the highest number of cases at 234 (40.6%) followed by Wakiso at 45 cases (7.5%) and Kasese and Kabarole at 31 and 27 cases respectively.
To protect people from the COVID-19 disease, a vaccine is essential and required. Vaccines will be the most effective means to protect the populations from corona virus. UNICEF with guidance from the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) will participate in and support the roll-out and implementation of the COVID-19 vaccine (COVAX), with special focus on the communication and demand generation component.
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. With over 300 COVID-19 vaccine candidates being monitored in varying stages of development and 25 vaccines in clinical evaluation, it is possible that a vaccine candidate may achieve emergency use approval in 2020. In preparation for this, effective assessment of communities’ and Health workers’ knowledge, behaviour, attitude and practice for this new vaccine and the development of evidence-based demand generation strategies is key.
The Communication Challenge: It is always a challenge to introduce a new vaccine, the process can have a significant impact – both positive and negative. The country’s health system, the general public and the new target populations e.g. front-line workers/health workers must be well prepared to ensure the desired acceptance and uptake of the vaccine. In Uganda, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed several systemic challenges in the health service delivery system, continuity of healthcare and the demand and utilisation of routine health services both at facility and household levels. The introduction of the new vaccine for COVID-19 will come with similar challenges but it is key to the successful reduction of transmission and containment of the pandemic. There is also the need to respond to the recurring challenge of rumours, misinformation and disinformation about vaccines at all levels and in this regard, the COVAX vaccine. Considering the age groups prioritized in a phased approach and possible adverse events in this new vaccine, it requires Innovative communication approaches.
Therefore, it is important to prepare the country to respond to any reports of adverse effects that might occur during or after the vaccination and develop plans on how to prepare for and mitigate any resulting crises of confidence.
Role of the Communication and Demand Generation component: The Communication and Demand Generation component will focus on ensuring acceptance and uptake of COVID-19 vaccination and will need to adopt an integrated approach to:
• Inform and educate the public and key target groups on the vaccine
• Listen to and understand target populations views and concerns
• Generate behavioral and social data on the drivers of uptake and to design targeted multi-media/channel communication strategies in response
• Build a supportive and transparent information and communication environment at all levels
• Ensure timely response to misinformation and disinformation through social listening – using on-line and offline mechanisms and assessments that inform digital engagement initiatives;
• Build trust and acceptance of the vaccines through engagement of communities by civil society organizations/community leaders and gatekeepers/influential person(s) and /or groups, particularly for vulnerable target populations;
• Provide health workers with the requisite knowledge about COVID-19 vaccines as first adopters, trusted influencers and vaccinators, giving them the skills and tools to communicate effectively and persuasively with target populations and communities.
Justification: With the complexities around communicating the introduction of a new vaccine as well as taking into account the current COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on immunisation and vaccines, additional technical support in communication and demand generation is therefore requested to support the preparation process to create a framework for implementation and realisation of the outlined objectives.
In close co-ordination with the UNICEF C4D unit and EPI Specialist and MoH HPE & SC department & UNEPI division, the consultant will undertake the following tasks:
- Provide technical assistance at the National and District level to ensure effective planning and preparedness of the awareness creation and demand generation components.
- Mapping of all key stakeholders at all levels from community through to national –reflecting champions or sceptics and how they might be engaged
- Work closely with the MOH and the respective national level coordination mechanisms/structures/ committees to ensure that the Communication and Demand Generation component is integrated with other COVID-19 response structures e.g., Education, Child Protection
c) Data collection and analysis
- Develop a framework and checklist that will guide evidence generation and improvement of data collection on behavioural change and communication related interventions including:
- Coordination of social media listening and rumor management efforts with ACSM & RCSM subcommittees and relevant stakeholders
- Roll out of the Behavioural & Social Drivers (BeSD) survey and support the data analysis
- Assess existing capacities for evidence generation and feedback mechanism at MoH (Call Centre, FamilyConnect, mTRAC, CHWR) and within UNICEF (U-Report)
- Work closely with MOH PRO team to develop and implement a social media plan for COVID-19 vaccine introduction including tackling misinformation, disinformation and vaccine hesitancy
d) COVID-19 vaccine (COVAX) introduction and Risk Communication Plan
- Develop a consolidated framework for the Communication and Demand Generation component which is based on and will contribute to the MoH COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment Preparedness Plan for Uganda
- Design a demand plan (includes advocacy, communications, social media, social mobilisation, risk and safety comms, community engagement, and training) to generate confidence, acceptance and demand for COVID-19 vaccines
- Refine and finalise the Risk Communication Preparedness Plan for COVAX plus coordination and monitoring of the planned communication activities at different levels
- Develop and finalise a Crisis Communications Preparedness and Response Plan
e) Development, pre-testing, translation and finalisation of IEC/multi-media materials
- Develop and/or adapt existing key messages and materials for public communication and advocacy, in alignment with demand plan and to ensure that different groups of the public are all well informed
f) Submit final consultancy report with best practices, recommendations, gaps & challenges
To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…
The selected Consultant should have:
- University degree in Health Education and Promotion, Communication, Social Sciences, Behavioral Health Sciences, Public Health or another related field. A Masters’ degree in Health Promotion or, Public Health or Health Communication or Community Health or another related field is an added advantage.
- A minimum of 5 years’ experience in Communication for Behaviour and Social Change
- Proven expertise in developing Communication materials, strategies and plans for immunisation, new vaccine introduction and SIAs
- Excellent facilitation skills, negotiation skills and oral and written communication skills;
- A repertoire of a wide range of facilitation approaches
- Strong analytical skills
- Knowledge of the Uganda context is an added advantage.
- Fluency in English.
Application Procedure/Call for Proposals
Interested candidates are required to submit a technical proposal on how they intend to approach the work. The proposal should include a timeline, and methodology, based on the Terms of Reference. The proposal must also include detailed CV of the consultant, as well as a financial proposal, clearly indicating daily rate for professional fees. The financial proposal must be all-inclusive of all costs (consultancy fees and where applicable air fares, airport transfers, daily living expenses). This is an international level consultancy and competitive market rates should apply.
Evaluation of Candidate:
The consultant will be competitively selected from a list of applicants based on their past experience of doing similar work (extensive experience in writing donor reports, in compiling and editing annual reports for various UNICEF offices).
For every Child, you demonstrate…
UNICEF’s core values of Commitment, Diversity and Integrity and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.
The competencies required for this post are….
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UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.
UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles.
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.
Advertised: E. Africa Standard Time
Deadline: E. Africa Standard Time