A researcher supported by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Researcher has been recognised by the University of Oxford for work to communicate with children in Africa about the Ebola outbreak.
Dr Matthew Snape was one of 12 winners in the inaugural Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Public Engagement with Research.
Dr Snape, of the University’s Oxford Vaccine Group, worked with producer Penny Boreham to create a 30-minute radio broadcast in Sierra Leone to address questions about immunisation and Ebola vaccines for young people aged 10 to 18. You can listen to the programme here.
He said: “The format of the programme, in which we addressed questions arising from an interview between local journalist Keziah Gbondo and Abibatu, a 12 year old girl living in the midst of an Ebola disease outbreak, provided us with a fascinating and important insight into what information is most relevant to local children.
“Insightful questions included the vaccine ingredients and whether the vaccine has been tested in children.
“The purpose of producing the broadcast programme was to increase awareness and understanding of the progress towards vaccines against Ebola virus in school aged children in Sierra Leone.
“We hope that this awareness and understanding will engender more confidence in immunisation programmes in general and, should it be required, any Ebola disease immunisation campaign.”
The winners were announced by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson, in a ceremony at Merton College on Friday, July 1.
Professor Alastair Buchan, Dean of Medicine and Head of the Medical Sciences Division, congratulated five divisional staff who scooped awards.
He said: “They’ve all shown creative ways to engage with new audiences across a board range of research topics.
“It is truly inspiring and I’m sure will encourage others to seek out innovative and exciting ways to co-create value for our society and economy outside of academia – something we all have a responsibility to do.”
The programme was part of the Pikin to Pikin Tok (Child to Child talk) project and a collaboration between the UK human rights agency Child to Child, their partner in Sierra Leona the Pikin to Pikin Movement and the Oxford Vaccine Group, part of the University’s Department of Paediatrics.
Dr Snape is a Consultant in General Paediatrics and Vaccinology at the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre and the Children’s Hospital Oxford, part of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
He is also an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer at the Department of Paediatrics, University of Oxford and a Jenner Investigator.