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Press release

BIT and HelpMum Africa selected for the new 8.5M VaxSocial grant to develop behavioural social media interventions to build vaccine confidence

1st May 2024

The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) and HelpMum Africa have been awarded a major significant grant to explore the role of behavioural change interventions in vaccine uptake in Nigeria, India and Indonesia.

The $8.5 million grant is awarded to seven grantees, including BIT and HelpMum, by Advancing Health Online (AHO) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, as part of their new VaxSocial initiative.

The initiative aims to explore the role of innovative social media and behavioural change interventions in helping to build confidence around routine vaccination. Nigeria is among the countries with the largest population of unvaccinated children, accounting for 30% of the global total.

BIT, a world leader on behavioural science and rigorous evaluation will work alongside HelpMum Africa, an African provider of award-winning digital innovations in maternal and infant healthcare .

The partnership will design, implement and evaluate social media interventions across several Nigerian states. This will involve developing a new behavioural and AI-informed WhatsApp vaccination chatbot, based on HelpMum’s existing work. The effectiveness of the intervention will be tested in a large field randomised controlled trial. 

The project builds on BIT’s WhatsApp vaccination chatbot in Argentina, developed with the Behavioural Science and Public Policy Unit, and funded by the Vaccine Confidence Fund. There we found promising results in our first field RCT with the sample of 250,000, which led to an ongoing scaling project (results forthcoming). 


David Halpern CBE, President and Founding Director of BIT:

“We’re grateful to AHO and Gavi for their investment in this vital work. The partnership will bring the rigour of behaviourally informed approaches together with deep local knowledge and insight. Our findings will have the potential to increase vaccination rates and make a significant positive impact in communities where levels of immunisation are currently low.”

Dr Abiodun Adereni, CEO of HelpMum Nigeria

“We are thrilled to announce our partnership with the Advancing Health Initiative and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, in undertaking this ambitious project. We eagerly anticipate the collective impact that will result from our collaboration and the significant progress it will bring in improving immunization outcomes in Nigeria.”