Preventable child deaths outrage everyone. Immunization campaigns save millions of children’s lives and therefore unite widely divergent communities. But the untapped potential for partnerships to extend vaccination coverage, especially involving religious actors, is large. Two critical challenges are important and offer great promise: extending newer vaccines (notably against rotavirus and pneumococcus) and reaching underserved populations (“the fifth child”). The support and cooperation of religious communities, at global and national levels, is essential for both—leaders and communities can help address challenges and prevent the grave problems that arise when religious leaders oppose vaccination (such as in Pakistan and Nigeria). In building partnerships there are four priorities: (a) informing populations and building trust; (b) focusing on underserved populations; (c) overcoming barriers to vaccination campaigns in tumultuous countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo where faith networks are especially vital players; and (d) helping through holistic health approaches to “connect the dots” among different public health and welfare efforts to meet the needs of people and communities.
Religious leaders, with their tremendous authority at the grass roots, are key to garnering community support for broad immunization coverage. This workbook, designed for communication and programme officers and their immunization partners, provides guidelines on forging alliances on immunization with religious leaders and groups. It also offers advice on options that can be taken when confronting resistance to immunization, illustrated by success stories from three countries.
This is a broad scoping review mapping and understanding the available literature on ‘religion and immunization’. The goal is to note where evidence and information can be found and to identify key areas for further research, engagement and partnership. An annotated bibliography accompanies the Report
On March 24th and 25th, 2014, the International Interfaith Peace Corps (IIPC) in partnership with the Government of the Republic of Senegal cohosted an international summit entitled Vaccinations and Religion: Issues, Challenges, and Prospects. The summit brought together more than 80 African Muslim government officials, medical professionals, and religious leaders to identify the challenges associated with vaccination in resistant and hard-to-reach communities in Africa in order to issue a declaration in support of disease prevention and help raise awareness within Muslim-majority communities about the necessity and importance of vaccination. Ultimately, the goal was to identify strategies to increase vaccine acceptance in their domestic constituencies.
IHP, in partnership with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), has published this resource guide and toolkit. The Model Practices Framework provides strategies to identify and engage faith-based organizations as partners in community health promotion and disease…