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Evaluation of the Polynesian Vaccination Training and Support Programme

Why was the project important?

Coronavirus has brought the world to a standstill as countries try and respond to the global and deadly pandemic.  

We know that the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way for pandemic preparedness and to limit the impact of community transmission on health systems. In developed nations, the virus can be overwhelming. In under-resourced developing countries, such as the Pacific Islands, the effect of COVID-19 could be even more devastating. 

To help countries be prepared and minimise the impact of community transmission, New Zealand donated Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines to seven Pacific Countries (Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Fiji). 

The Polynesian Vaccination Training and Support Programme (The Programme) is a partnership between the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC), the New Zealand Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and Pacific Island countries. As part of this, IMAC provides training and support to enable confident, capable and supported healthcare workforces and resilient health systems. 

IMAC asked Litmus to evaluate The Programme which is being undertaken in two phases. The first phase covered the effectiveness of the vaccinator training and workforce support for Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau and Tonga. Phase 2 of The Programme evaluation will start in the last quarter of 2022. Phase 2 will focus on working with Pacific Island countries to determine the support needed to build their health workforces, strengthen their health systems, and prepare and manage for the future.

 The process we took and the people we worked with

Twenty-nine qualitative interviews were conducted during Phase 1. Initial contextual interviews were undertaken with New Zealand government stakeholders (including IMAC, New Zealand Ministry of Health and MFAT). Pacific countries’ vaccination programme leads and vaccinators who undertook the training from IMAC were interviewed. The evaluation also drew on quantitative data sources to assess the Programme and identify learnings. Our team included our Pasifika research partner and two researchers with backgrounds in anthropology.

What we delivered

IMAC is using the evaluation insights from Phase 1 to strengthen the effectiveness of their training.