On Thursday 15 April, NetHope convened organizations leading the global fight for equitable Covid-19 vaccine distribution with funders and NetHope Members for a vital discussion around leveraging data for vaccine prioritization in low and middle income countries.
You know the drill. Data is essential for a just and effective Covid-19 vaccination rollout. NetHope Members are running health programs across the globe and have a huge amount of experience ethically and effectively using data for vaccination programs. And the NetHope community believes we can do good – better, when we work together and harness the best technology has to offer.
On Thursday 15 April, NetHope brought the experience of our community together with COVIDaction to hear lightning talks from Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD), the Vaccine Equity Project, Fraym, Surgo Ventures and Sabin Vaccine Institute. We also hosted a panel discussion with participants from the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, WHO, UNICEF, International Medical Corps, IMC Worldwide and UK Aid.
The fast-paced and fascinating two-hour call saw the launch of COVIDaction’s Vaccine Data Co-Lab, a collaboration with governments, civil society organizations, and network partners to close data gaps in vaccine rollouts in low and middle income countries. The Vaccine Data Co-Lab has an open funding call for technical proposals to ensure sustained capacity for vaccine deployment. NetHope Members will be discussing ideas and opportunities geared toward this fund and our community’s collective action in the coming weeks.
Key issues that emerged from the call included items around data sovereignty, information trust and vaccine hesitation. NetHope Members and other key stakeholders shared a wealth of information, both in the live conversations and the digital chat – sharing and building on experiences, key challenges, and important considerations. Together, we contributed to and built a more complete picture around current challenges and opportunities for equitable vaccine distribution.
The call highlighted again that data is all about people, but it’s also about power. Data and the good use of that data is essential to an equitable vaccine rollout at a local and a global level. To be effective we must overcome global data challenges, technologies and power dynamics, and then navigate down to local contexts, successfully overcoming community-level mistrust and navigating political dynamics.
In addition, to add an extra dimension of complexity to any health program or proposed solution, we must be incredibly careful to utilize but not cannibalize parts of existing strained health systems in the name of this crisis. Our efforts must be focused on building lasting solutions that are sustainable beyond this crisis and leave all the parts of the ecosystem strengthened and more resilient for the future.
This call was a milestone moment in convening key actors and matching them with funders – and we know it will be a catalyst in ensuring equitable global Covid-19 vaccination.
NetHope Members: if you are interested in collective programming in this area, we are keen to work with you. Please contact Ray Short.
Partners and funders: if you want to be involved, we would love to partner with you. Please reach out to Jean-Louis Ecochard.