As at the 4th quarter of 2021, less than 4% of Africa’s population has been fully vaccinated according to the WHO. Additionally, while most Western nations are expected to achieve widespread COVID-19 vaccine coverage by the end of 2021, studies estimate that Africa will achieve the same feat in 2023 or beyond, at best.
Low vaccination rates in Africa can be explained by a myriad of reasons – lack of a sustainable supply of vaccines, weak healthcare systems, funding limitations, lack of widespread availability of cold chain storage and distribution systems, and low political will.
However, there is another big reason why vaccination rates are so low – vaccine hesitancy is high.
Vaccine hesitancy can be defined as “the delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite availability of vaccine services”. This has been an issue from the commencement of the global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines however, the flames have been fanned by the misinformation and disinformation rampant across the internet, and also by news headlines such as the one in July 2021 that stated Covishield was not an acceptable vaccine under the European Union’s Digital COVID certificate.
Low vaccination rates in Africa leave the continent susceptible to new variants of concern (VOC) and a resurgence of COVID-19. Western countries are able to cite low vaccination rates to impose travel restrictions and bans thereby significantly limiting the participation of Africa and Africans in the global community. (See news article on Nov. 2021 travel ban on Southern Africa due to the discovery new VOC - https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-omicron-variant-travel-bans-world-health-organization-response/)
In light of the above, Anadach Group and RDAssociates Africa consider Vaccine Hesitancy an important issue – in many African cities people are refusing to get jabbed even when the COVID-19 vaccine is made available to them.
The Anadach Group and RDAssociates Africa have co-hosted a webinar series that commenced in October 2021 where stakeholders such as health workers, faith-based leaders, and community leaders have shared their perspective on this problem, as well as ways that stakeholders across Africa can drive change and reverse this trend.
Our third and final session titled ‘COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in Africa - Reimagining the role of key messengers in both traditional and social media, as well as within the highly impacted hospitality & services sector’ will hold on December 9th, 2021at 1pm UTC / GMT.
We will hear from the stakeholders many consider to be at the helm of the problem – the media. We will have both traditional and social media representatives such as journalists, influencers, and entertainers on our panel. Additionally, representatives from the services sector will be in attendance as the pandemic has greatly impacted services such as hotels, restaurants, event gatherings, etc.
Please register for this event here - https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZckc-mqrz0uE9OWVN7_xxBA5ObTH4Y2DFbt . Kindly share this link with your network and peers.
We expect our final session to be highly enlightening and an impactful end to what has been an eye-opening discussion with stakeholders across the continent, and we hope to see you there!
Recording of this series webinars and presentations are available at:
Born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Helen Mesfin moved to the United States at the age of 17 to pursue higher education. She worked her way through college, earning a degree in Business Management, and launching her professional career in the Hospitality and Tourism industry. A multi-faceted Media, Destination Sales, Marketing and Business Development professional, Helen has over 18 years of experience in the Destination Management industry representing major US cities like Washington, DC and New Orleans. Helen is an active member of numerous professional associations in the Tourism and Meetings industry and holds leadership roles on various boards and committees in the Washington DC area. Furthermore, Helen the host and executive producer of a weekly Amharic talk-show on Ethiopian Broadcasting Services (EBS) Television. The Helen Show is a focused on celebrating and inspiring Ethiopians, Ethiopian Americans and the African diaspora by facilitating honest and candid conversations to inspire, entertain, and empower the community at home and abroad. With wit and compassion, Helen engages her guests to share their thoughts and expertise on relevant everyday issues. A Life-Style show currently in its 19th season, the Helen show is a top rated program on the network, and has provided an excellent platform to engage and influence over 25 million viewers weekly through direct transmission, subscription on Roku, and on YouTube. The show is one of the most trusted voices in the Ethiopian community. In 2017, Helen launched Empower the Community Weekend. An extension of the Helen Show, the event brings together the largest East African community in the Washington DC area at the Washington DC Convention Center. The event is designed to provide entertainment, discussion platform, and information on education, finance, civic engagement and health and wellness. The event provides valuable resources, information, family centric activities to empower and strengthen the community. In addition to all her professional accomplishments, Helen is a longtime resident of Washington DC with her husband and their two children.
Michael Haynie has devoted his entire professional career to the lodging and hospitality industry. After attending Northeastern University in Boston, MA. He took on various positions before rising through the ranks to the executive level positions he has held for more than 40 years. Mr. Haynie has experience in every facet of hotel operation and has served in leadership capacities in hotels ranging from economy to luxury. Mr. Haynie has also served as a General Manager with Hilton and Intercontinental Hotels in Baltimore, Boston, and Hartford, as well as a General Manager with independent and branded hotels in Charlotte, Hartford, Boston and Washington, DC. In 2012, he founded the Maryland Center for Hospitality Training (MCHT), which prepares Marylanders with customer service, safety, soft and social skills, and technical training for successful transition into the workplace. In 2020, a COVID-19 protocol training and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion consultation and training was added to assist their clients to reopen and operate their business in a safe environment. The MCHT is one of the leading work force and COVID-19 safety training providers in the region. For more information, visit www.marylandcenterforhospitalitytraining.com
Mr. Haynie was honored by the Maryland Hotel & Lodging Industry in 2007 as the state’s “Hotelier of the Year” and in 2009 as the “Office of Tourism Development as the “Mentor of the Year.” Mr. Haynie also served on the Task Force which studied a Post Labor Day School Start as an appointee of the Governor of the State of Maryland. Mr. Haynie was named the “Tourism Person of the Year” for the State of Maryland by the Maryland Tourism Coalition in 2019.
Ms. Ego Boyo
Nwakaego ‘ Ego’ Boyo is an Actor, Producer and Creative entrepreneur. She is the founder and Managing Director of Temple productions, a company based in Lagos, Temple Productions and Temple Media in Barbados.
She has over 25 years experience and expertise consulting and producing premium multi media content in Nigeria.
Ego has Produced multiple award winning feature films, Television Advertisements and documentaries, the 1998 Presidential campaign videos and jingles, Music videos, Business and Corporate Documentaries, Social realism documentaries for private and Corporate clients, Advocacy and social interest Short Films.
She is a Trustee at Lagos Preparatory and Secondary School, Ikoyi, a private British curriculum School based in Lagos, and is the Chair of the Advisory board of the Lagos Fringe Theatre Festival, a multi disciplinary Festival which runs annually.
She is also the Founder and a Trustee of Tempio Media Advocacy Foundation, and
is a member of the advisory board of the Nigerian Oscar Selection committee.
Ego is a member of several Film and entertainment industry organizations, charitable organizations and social clubs.
She is focused on showcasing the beauty and Art of African film, and telling the the every day stories of Nigerians and Africans to a global audience.
Ms. Jolene Samuels
Founder of the ‘Jab Raffles’ vaccine initiative in South Africa. Her campaign kicked off on Facebook where she encouraged her approximately 4,000 followers to ‘do the right thing’ and get vaccinated against COVID-19. Subsequently, her activism grew into conducting raffles where those who could show proof of getting jabbed were rewarded. Raffle winners got ‘gifts’ that have been donated by the community such as perfume, alcohol, clothes, food, airtime, cash prizes, etc. Jab Raffles holds daily draws entered by tagging Samuels in proof of vaccination photos or sending them directly to her. The campaign has become such success and notably the Western Cape Premier Alan Winde commended the initiative saying it was ‘wonderful to see initiatives such as these, which will help our vaccination programme in a big way’ while encouraging others to also do what they can to get those around them registered to receive the jab.
Flavia Nassaka is an award winning health and science journalist with seven years of professional experience of writing, sourcing and reporting news for local, regional and international media houses and publications. Flavia is a graduate of Makerere University with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication.
Flavia’s articles have featured in publications such as The East African Business Week (EABW), The Independent Publications Limited (IPL), the Uganda Radio Network (URN) and the Health Journalism Network Uganda (HEJNU) This is in addition to her co-writing and contributions to several writing and features projects.
Flavia began her career as a health and agriculture writer / journalist with the EABW before joining the IPL where she specialized in health and public policy. At the IPL, Flavia was exposed to several fellowships and training opportunities by organizations and institutions such as International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), HEJNU and the African Center for Media Excellence (ACME).
She currently works for the URN, a news agency that publishes online and distributes news to 100 subscribing radio stations and three print media houses in Uganda including the IPL, Daily Monitor and the Observer Newspaper. At the URN, Flavia is focused on the coverage of science that includes scientific research, policy, healthcare business and wellness.
Anadach Group (www.anadach.com) is a healthcare strategic firm, which was founded in 2009 to provide innovative advice and services to clients and partners interested in transforming healthcare systems in emerging markets. Spanning over 25 countries, we have collaborated with governments, development finance institutions, multinational health organizations, donors and private sector companies including multinational companies to strengthen health systems to improve access to health services and products, and help solve some of the world’s biggest health challenges.
RDAssociates Africa (https://rnd.associates/), an affiliate of RnD Associates in the US, was recently established in Ethiopia and Kenya to build human capacity in Healthcare, Wellness and Pharma, Engineering and Manufacturing and Hospitality and Tourism whilst integrating youth engagement, women empowerment and digital transformation across these three sectors. Our globally trained managing partners, senior associates and consultants have a common vision to help CONNECT, STRENGTHEN and LEAD with carefully crafted trainings and support focused on human capacity development (HCD) and organizational development in Africa. At RDA Africa, we bring a world of experience to you.