Extending a Call for Partners to Join the Learning Agenda: Improving Coverage of National Immunization Programs

November 19, 2021

This post is authored by Susan Rae Ross, Sr. Private Sector Engagement Advisor, Office of Maternal/Child Health and Nutrition, USAID Global Health Bureau; Dr. Folake Olayinka, Immunization Team Leader, Office of Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition, USAID Global Health Bureau; Dr. Gaurav Sharma, Sr. Maternal, Newborn, Child Health Technical Advisor; and Dr. Christopher Morgan, Sr Immunization Technical Advisor for the MOMENTUM Private Healthcare Delivery Project.

In a previous post, we introduced ways to engage with the private sector to improve immunization coverage. This blog focuses on a preliminary learning agenda proposed by MOMENTUM that aims to capture lessons learned from partnerships with private sector actors, both NGOs and for-profits that have worked to build stronger and more resilient immunization programs, particularly for the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines. Additionally, Marketlinks, USAID’s MOMENTUM Private Healthcare Delivery, and USAID/India will host a webinar on November 30 that will share lessons learned from India, providing experiences from both USAID and local companies in the country working to scale immunization programs. 

MOMENTUM Private Healthcare Delivery, part of a suite of innovative awards funded by USAID, harnesses the potential of the private sector to deliver quality maternal, newborn, and child health services; voluntary family planning; and reproductive health care. The project strengthens private health system functions and works with local organizations and partners to expand affordable health coverage that serve women, children, and communities for the long term. The project is partnering with global immunization actors, such as the World Health Organization (including their new private sector "connector"), UNICEF, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and MOMENTUM partner countries to advance this learning agenda. Through this collective effort, these partners aim to introduce, apply, and adapt existing guidance around engaging the private sector to expand and scale immunization platforms and share best practices.

In addition to capturing lessons learned from partnership with private sector actors in immunization, USAID and its MOMENTUM partners will provide technical assistance and capacity-building to support national institutions and local partners to reduce the number of zero-dose and under-immunized children. These efforts will directly contribute to the goals outlined in the Immunization Agenda 2030: to reduce mortality and morbidity from vaccine-preventable diseases throughout the life course, increase equitable access and use of new and existing vaccines, and improve health and well-being for all by strengthening immunization within primary health care. These tangible efforts in technical assistance and capacity building will be documented in order to support the overall learning agenda.

Urgent and collective efforts are needed by all actors, including the private sector, to ensure an integrated response to the COVID-19 pandemic and establish robust routine immunization platforms. Through the Marketlinks platform, we will share key insights, country experiences, and future learning opportunities related to private sector engagement in immunization service delivery, as well as considerations for COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

USAID Missions and implementing partners can help to advance this learning agenda by: 

  1. Gathering disaggregated data from COVID-19 vaccination sites by type (private nonprofit and for-profit), especially for new vaccination sites, for sharing with MOMENTUM partners and other immunization stakeholders.
  2. Monitoring for equity, inclusion, and reach of immunization programs, including those offered by NGOs and for-profit providers, and ensuring they include priority populations.
  3. Documenting effective engagement mechanisms, especially what motivates private providers to participate in immunization programs, the challenges they face, and what mechanisms enable equitable expansion of immunization services.

Join the conversation! Register for the November 30 webinar on Engaging the Private Sector in Immunization, where immunization experts will present evidence, country experiences, and suggestions for future learning.


In the meantime, please check out these resources: