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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2015

Mapping how information about childhood vaccination is communicated in two regions of Cameroon: What is done and where are the gaps?

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2015
Heather Ames, Diangha Mabel Njang, Claire Glenton, Atle Fretheim, Jessica Kaufman, Sophie Hill, Afiong Oku, Julie Cliff, Yuri Cartier, Xavier Bosch-Capblanch, Gabriel Rada, Artur Muloliwa, Angela Oyo-Ita, Simon Lewin
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12889-015-2557-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

None of the authors have competing interests.

Author contributions

HA, CG and SL developed the research protocol with contributions from JC, AF, GR, XBC, YC, AO, JK, SH, AM, AOI. HA and DMN collected the data. HA and DMN completed preliminary data analysis in the field. CG, SL, JC, AO and AM were also involved in the data analysis. HA wrote the first draft of the article with input from CG, SL and AF. All of the authors read and contributed to the manuscript and agree with the material presented. ICMJE criteria for authorship read and met: HA, DMN, CG, JC, AF, GR, XBC, YC, AO, JK, SH, AM, AOI, SL.

Authors’ information

HA has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and French from Canada and a master’s degree in International Community Health from Norway. DMN is an anthropologist from the North West Region of Cameroon who was living in Yaoundé at the time of the study.



The ‘Communicate to vaccinate’ (COMMVAC) project builds research evidence for improving communication with parents and communities about childhood vaccinations in low- and middle-income countries. Understanding and mapping the range of vaccination communication strategies used in different settings is an important component of this work. In this part of the COMMVAC project, our objectives were: (1) to identify the vaccination communication interventions used in two regions of Cameroon; (2) to apply the COMMVAC taxonomy, a global taxonomy of vaccination communication interventions, to these communication interventions to help us classify these interventions, including their purposes and target audiences; and identify whether gaps in purpose or target audiences exist; (3) to assess the COMMVAC taxonomy as a research tool for data collection and analysis.


We used the following qualitative methods to identify communication strategies in the Central and North West Regions of Cameroon in the first half of 2014: interviews with program managers, non-governmental organizations, vaccinators, parents and community members; observations and informal conversations during routine immunization clinics and three rounds of the National Polio Immunization Campaign; and document analysis of reports and mass media communications about vaccination. A survey of parents and caregivers was also done. We organised the strategies using the COMMVAC taxonomy and produced a map of Cameroon-specific interventions, which we presented to local stakeholders for feedback.


Our map of the interventions used in Cameroon suggests that most childhood vaccination communication interventions focus on national campaigns against polio rather than routine immunisation. The map also indicates that most communication interventions target communities more broadly, rather than parents, and that very few interventions target health workers. The majority of the communication interventions aimed to inform or educate or remind or recall members of the community about vaccination. The COMMVAC taxonomy provided a useful framework for quickly and simply mapping existing vaccination communication strategies.


By identifying the interventions used in Cameroon and developing an intervention map, we allowed stakeholders to see where they were concentrating their communication efforts and where gaps exist, allowing them to reflect on whether changes are needed to the communication strategies they are using.
Additional file 1: Questions included in the survey of parents and caregivers. (PDF 171 kb)
Additional file 2: Map of vaccination communication interventions in Cameron. (PDF 450 kb)
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