RSV Policy and Advocacy Workshop in Munich

From 23 to 25 June 2023, parent and patient representatives from all over the world came together to exchange and learn about effective policy and advocacy activities and tools using the example of RSV in young children.

It was a pleasure for EFCNI to host this workshop on policy and advocacy in the field of RSV in Munich from 23 to 25 June 2023. The three days were packed with practical exercises, interesting group discussions and workshops to help the participants learn new or build on existing tools and skills in the field of policy and advocacy using RSV as an example.

On the first day, general information on the epidemiology, transmission, pathogenesis, symptoms, diagnosis, management and preventive measures as well as the impact on global health of RSV was given. In addition, the mechanisms of immunisation and vaccination were explained. Using the example of an ongoing social media campaign of EFCNI, the controversy and sensitivity of the topic of immunisation was demonstrated and relevant learnings were shared with the participants.

Day two started with a useful and hands-on workshop on “Searching and working with evidence on RSV” where the participants learned about how to access reliable information and learned how to carry out a search on the platform PubMed using the example of RSV-related topics. This was followed by an engaging workshop on the topic of “Stakeholder Engagement – Implementation and Execution Planning”, where the process of stakeholder mapping in terms of numbers and influence was described, using a variety of real-life experiences and practical examples. The day was rounded off by the informative workshop on “Developing an RSV position paper”, during which the most important aspects to consider before developing a position paper were outlined, how a position paper is created and written and how this can be disseminated post publication.

The final day of the workshop kicked off with a lively elevator pitching exercise on the challenges of approaching key decision-makers on the topic of RSV in young children, followed by some group work on developing a global patient/parent action plan in the event that an RSV vaccine is approved. To close the workshop, various tools and methodologies were discussed among the participants on advocating for policy change in their respective countries.

By way of summary, during these three days the participants had the opportunity to exchange their individual experiences on RSV policy and advocacy in their respective countries, learn new policy and advocacy skills and tools and build on each other’s experiences.

We would like to thank our speakers Dr. Eleni Vavouraki from Iltominon, Alison McNulty from TinyLife and Fabiana Bacchini from the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation for the preparation and execution of their excellent sessions during the workshop!

Acknowledgements: The EFCNI 2023 policy and advocacy training workshop for patient and family representatives was supported by a restricted grant from Pfizer.