5.2 Use 7-1-7 to support communication of your advocacy objective
The 7-1-7 target can focus the world’s attention on the need for effective and swift outbreak response and become a rallying point for a virtuous cycle of advocacy and accountability. After the landscape analysis has been completed and policy objectives and strategies set, the 7-1-7 approach can be used as a tool for effective communication of the systems and actions required to strengthen health security.
A multi-country Retrospective Review identifying common bottlenecks
One example of how the 7-1-7 approach has been used to raise global awareness of key investments needed for health security strengthening is a Retrospective Review of events undertaken by five countries (Brazil, Ethiopia, Liberia, Nigeria, and Uganda). The review established that fewer than 25% of outbreaks in these countries achieved the full 7-1-7 target. It then synthesized the most common bottlenecks. The review also identified that delays in detection were primarily at the health facility level, while delays in notification and response were most often at the intermediate/subnational level. The document advocated for increased investment in health facilities and health worker training to improve prompt disease detection and reporting, as well as the strengthening of response mechanisms at the subnational level.
Communications with stakeholders can be undertaken in different ways, using different tactics and assets, alone or in combination, with adjustments over time. They should be informed by the targeted advocacy strategy developed in Step 5.1. Stakeholders will inherently have different interests and areas of influence.
Different types of stakeholder roles may include:
Government stakeholders have influence over what is included in national budgets and on implementation priorities. The 7-1-7 target allows governments to identify points of failure and bottlenecks across outbreak responses. Because the 7-1-7 approach highlights the interplay of various systems, it helps focus accountability rather than just vaguely attributing failed responses. It provides data to help drive decision-making — where to direct attention, training, technical assistance, and funding. Ministries of Health, National Public Health Institutes (NPHI) and local and other officials can reference transparent reporting to advocate for increased investment of domestic resources in systems to improve performance against the 7-1-7 target. They can also use the 7-1-7 approach to increase and focus support from external donors, while building confidence that funds will be targeted to critical needs and impacts will be measured.
Civil society and communities:
Civil society and communities have been amongst the most potent forces in advocating for resources and programs to address the HIV pandemic and in demanding accountability from officials when shortcomings are identified. Over the past decades, they have used HIV treatment targets to mobilize action. Civil society and community organizations can have a significant impact in terms of mobilizing funds for outbreak preparedness and response, while tracking how funds are spent and demanding accountability. The 7-1-7 approach can further support efforts by advocates to push for increased attention and funding where gaps exist and governments fail to invest adequately in epidemic preparedness.
Funders and development partners:
Part of the reluctance to fund epidemic preparedness stems from the absence of simple measurements of progress as well as a lack of prioritized funding needs. As in the case of HIV, synthesized data collected against the 7-1-7 metrics can help funders and development partners (including foundations, bilateral donors, development banks and technical assistance providers) understand how best to direct resources and structure program funding, while also offering a measure of funding impact. With measurable metrics and an evidence-based list of priority needs — a requirement for bringing major funding on board — the 7-1-7 approach helps focus funding contributions on areas of greatest need and builds confidence that funds are well spent.
Depending on the specific demands and opportunities for engagement, different assets and tactics can be employed to leverage the 7-1-7 target as a communications and advocacy tool. These include:
- Workshops or high-level conferences to obtain consensus and buy-in;
- Individual meetings to identify opportunities and obtain commitments;
- Presentations to key committees or interest groups;
- Policy briefs;
- Media campaigns;
- Editorials or publications;
- Planning documents.
Global health security is only as strong as the weakest link.
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