Amref Health Africa Partners with Nine African NGOs to Promote COVID-19 Immunisation among Unreached Communities

by Amref Health Africa

New US$1.9 million commitment will support local COVID-19 response and strengthen health systems in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – October 24, 2022 – Amref Health Africa (Amref) is awarding US$1.9 million in sub-grants to nine African non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to support district-level health systems strengthening initiatives across Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda. With support from The Rockefeller Foundation, the NGOs will work with Amref to implement local strategies for improving COVID-19 vaccine coverage among high-risk populations through the end of 2023. The projects emerged from intra-country discussions and cross-country discussions led by the Vaccination Action Network (VAN), a peer-to-peer learning initiative for health leaders in sub-Saharan Africa to trade insights and refine country-wide immunisation campaigns to increase uptake for COVID-19 vaccines and beyond.

Since March 2020, more than 11,000 people have died due to COVID-19 in the four countries combined. As of October, uptake for vaccines remains low, with a reported 15% of eligible Malawians having received at least one dose of vaccine, compared to 25% of the equivalent population in Kenya, 32% in Tanzania, and 40% in Uganda. Recent reports of historic backsliding on routine childhood immunisations have renewed African health leaders’ commitments to vaccine delivery as a means of disease control and pandemic prevention.

“Two and a half years into the pandemic, we have to find ways to recharge the fight against this disease while rebuilding our defenses against other infectious illnesses through strengthening the health systems at all levels,” said Jackson Musembi, Project Manager, Global Health Security Unit at Amref Health Africa. “Through VAN, our partners in East and Southern Africa are working across borders to share shovel-ready strategies for better vaccine messaging and delivery. We are proud to offer support alongside our colleagues at The Rockefeller Foundation.”

The nine VAN sub-grantees and projects include support to:

  • PS Kenya and PanAfricare to focus on priority groups (e.g., youth, the elderly, community health workers) in Makueni, Nakuru and Turkana Counties, Kenya;
  • Christian Health Association of Malawi to engage religious leaders as advocates for COVID-19 immunisations in Phalombe and Chiradzulu Districts, Malawi;
  • Centre for Development Communication to design and distribute COVID-19 prevention guides – including the benefits of vaccination – for residents of Mulanje District, Malawi;
  • United Purpose to engage with village mobilisers, Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) and community leaders to address demand-side barriers for improved vaccine uptake in Dedza District, Malawi
  • Community Concern of Orphans & Development Association to initiate door-to-door immunisation outreach in Njombe District and Makambo Town, Tanzania;
  • Zanzibar Maisha Bora Foundation to launch mass media campaigns with embedded vaccination teams to complement service delivery for Covid-19 vaccinations in Kaskazin and Magharibi Districts, Tanzania;
  • Makerere University School of Public Health to strengthen immunisation data systems in Wakiso District, Uganda;
  • Infectious Disease Institute to train community vaccination advocates in Wakiso District, Uganda.

Launched in April 2022, VAN convenes representatives from African ministries of health and district health offices to fast-track solutions and adapt activities for communities where COVID-19 vaccine uptake remains low. The network is supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, with Amref providing technical assistance and disbursing sub-grants for partner action projects. Dalberg and Sabin act as members of the secretariat.

As VAN partners implement immunisation strategies, they will also apply lessons from the pandemic to strengthen essential health services – including routine immunisations and chronic care for HIV/AIDS – and bolster pandemic preparedness across the East and Southern African regions.


About Amref Health Africa

Amref Health Africa, headquartered in Kenya, is the largest Africa-based International Non-Governmental Organisation (INGO). With a focus on increasing sustainable health access, Amref runs programmes in over thirty-five countries in Africa, with lessons learnt over 60 years of engagement with governments, communities, and partners. Amref Health Africa also engages in programme development, fundraising, partnership, advocacy, monitoring and evaluation, and has offices in Europe and North America as well as subsidiaries: Amref Flying Doctors, Amref Enterprises and the Amref International University.

About The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation is a pioneering philanthropy built on collaborative partnerships at the frontiers of science, technology, and innovation that enable individuals, families, and communities to flourish. We work throughout the world to promote the well-being of humanity and make opportunity universal and sustainable. Our focus is on scaling renewable energy for all, stimulating economic mobility, and ensuring equitable access to healthy and nutritious food. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.

About Dalberg

Dalberg is a leading social impact advisory group that brings together strategy consulting, design thinking, big data analytics, and research to address complex social and environmental challenges. It collaborates with communities, institutions, governments, and corporations to develop solutions that create impact at scale. The Dalberg Group is comprised of six businesses: Dalberg Advisors, Dalberg Data Insights, Dalberg Design, Dalberg Implement, Dalberg Media, and Dalberg Research, and a not-for-profit, Dalberg Catalyst. For more information, visit

About the Sabin Vaccine Institute

The Sabin Vaccine Institute is a leading advocate for expanding vaccine access and uptake globally, advancing vaccine research and development, and amplifying vaccine knowledge and innovation. Unlocking the potential of vaccines through partnership, Sabin has built a robust ecosystem of funders, innovators, implementers, practitioners, policymakers and public stakeholders to advance its vision of a future free from preventable diseases. As a non-profit with more than two decades of experience, Sabin is committed to finding solutions that last and extending the full benefits of vaccines to all people, regardless of who they are or where they live. At Sabin, we believe in the power of vaccines to change the world. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter, @SabinVaccine.

Media Contact:

Maureen Cherongis

Media and External Relations

Amref Health Africa

[email protected]

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