The Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical from Universidade Nova de Lisboa (IHMT NOVA) hosted the event Interventions for health professionals to reduce vaccine hesitancy in European target regions: evaluators’ training week (27 February – 3 March). The initiative brought together participants from six of the seven European countries where the VAX-TRUST project is taking place. The participants were trained to act as local evaluators of interventions. These interventions, designed to increase awareness of the complexity of vaccine hesitancy among healthcare professionals involved in discussing childhood vaccines with parents, will be implemented by the project partners in the different target regions of the project.
The training week was designed and carried out by the team in charge for the project’s Work Package 6, which is coordinated by Professor Tiago Correia and researchers, Doctors Cátia Sá Guerreiro, Rita Morais and André Beja. Until July 2023, this team will work with the local evaluators on the evaluation of the VAX-TRUST interventions.
It was an inspiring week for all participants who worked together to share knowledge, skills, tools and practical examples on evaluation planning and operationalization. The overall aim was to create a common understanding of the process and strategies to be used on the evaluation of each intervention. Besides the trainers from the hosting team, the programme included external guests, such as Dr. Verónica Gomez, who presented on the experience of the Portuguese National Institute of Health in conducting the evaluation of the first European School of Health Information. Another invited guest was Brazilian researcher Dr. Sofia Reinach from the Getúlio Vargas Foundation who discussed her experience as evaluator of health interventions with the trainees.
It is also worth noting the important message in the opening session of the course from Professor Paulo Ferrinho, the director of the Global Public Health unit of IHMT NOVA, who highlighted the importance of evaluation as a driver for understanding and strengthening health interventions. Dr. Pia Vuolanto, the project PI, greeted the trainees online on the last day.
The team concluded that the overall objective of laying the groundwork for participants to conduct the evaluation of the different VAX-TRUST interventions was achieved. This process is now moving forward, with the support and interaction of the WP6 IHMT NOVA team, in each of the target regions selected for implementation of this phase of the project.