Last Friday, the Health Campaign Effectiveness Coalition Program Office presented at Integrating for Impact, the 2020 virtual meeting for the Coalition for Operational Research, Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD). Moderated by program director Dr. Kristin Saarlas, the three-hour session explored the importance of campaign integration, as well as the ways in which the HCEC can contribute to NTD control and elimination.
The issue of health campaign integration is a timely one. With the suspension of many campaigns around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cross-campaign integration and co-delivery will be vital to both campaign re-starts and the eventual dissemination of a coronavirus vaccine. In polls conducted in the session, more than half of respondents ranked integration of “high” or “very high” importance. However, despite this pressing need, respondents had little experience in integrated campaigns: 54% reported no experience at all, with only 8% reporting experience with a fully co-delivered campaign.
The session opened with a series of presentations from experts highlighting their experiences with campaign integration. The speakers included Dr. Teshome Gabre, Regional Director for Africa, International Trachoma Initiative; Dr. Olumide Ogundahunsi, Director, Research, Innovation and Development at the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo, Nigeria; and Dr. Muhammad Farid, Medical Officer, WHO, Somalia.
After the presentations and polls, attendees broke into separate working groups to discuss an emerging integration research and learning agenda. The groups highlighted that the current system is often siloed for each NTC program, with priorities for each organizing group often differing significantly. To overcome this, practitioners may need to “sell” the concept of integration, as buy-in at every level is critical to campaign success. Similarly, the support of the community has been shown to play a large role in the outcome of the campaign–fatigue and distrust from the local population can be a significant barrier to success.
The session concluded with an overview of the findings from each working group.
View the recorded presentations from the COR-NTD meeting session below.