A short while ago, Baird’s CMC did a project for an organisation looking to promote uptake for paediatric vaccines in African countries. The client was convinced that problems with pricing, distribution networks, and so on were adversely affecting uptake in the region. So Baird’s CMC went out and did their research, which, among other things, involved speaking to a number of high-level African policymakers.
As it turned out, while pricing and logistics were contributing factors, the most significant reason for low uptake had nothing to do with those at all. James Snodgrass, associate at Baird’s CMC, explains, “We found that African policymakers simply don’t accord much importance to paediatric vaccination – despite it being the building block of public health in developing countries. The main issue was the lack of political will and leadership from the top. This meant that anyone at a lower level didn’t prioritise vaccination either because they would derive no benefit from doing so.”
Insights like these are pivotal to coming up with an accurate plan of action to tackle the problem at hand. To get to the root cause, it is essential to question all the assumptions made in a situation if there are no supporting facts. “At Baird’s CMC, we’re very keen on thorough research. Often, clients approach us and say, ‘We have a problem. What can we do to fix it?’ At that point, if there is no existing research on the issue, we say, ‘We don’t know what to do yet, because we don’t know why you have this problem – or indeed, if you have a different problem altogether, or that you have a problem at all!’” reiterates James.