ABOUT THE PROJECT

The project seeks to improve child vaccination rates and improve service delivery for vaccination programs. This project also establishes a toll-free number for immunization in rural Uttar Pradesh that strives to provide services to improve child health and service delivery.

NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS (October 2016)

  • Researchers have developed a novel mobile and social media platform to better inform communities and receive feedback about critical health issues in rural communities
  • Researchers began initial field testing in Hardoi District in Uttar Pradesh

PROJECT UPDATE (April 2016)

Researchers will develop and evaluate a scalable community engagement intervention facilitated by mobile phone technology to increase immunization coverage among underserved populations in India. During our first four months of operation, researchers worked extensively with the project’s technology partner, Onion Dev (formerly GramVaani Pvt. Ltd), a social tech company incubated out of IIT-Delhi, to prepare for field deployment. Initial field tests will begin in rural Uttar Pradesh in June, 2016.

RESEARCH ABSTRACT

Vaccination is one of the most effective and cost-effective ways to improve child health and survival, by preventing the occurrence of critical infectious diseases. Building on the momentum generated by India’s landmark success in eradicating polio in 2014, the focus of the Indian government has recently turned to improving the routine immunization system.

Multiple factors contribute to incomplete child vaccination. Some relate to the knowledge and beliefs of parents and families, who may not understand the purpose of immunization or the vaccine schedule, or may succumb to rumours or misinformation about vaccination being harmful. Others relate to shortcoming in vaccine provision by the government, which require that high-quality vaccines be supplied and delivered on time by qualified health workers.

We will establish a toll-free number for immunization in rural Uttar Pradesh where only 45% of children are fully vaccinated. This service has a dual purpose to improve both child health and service delivery: (1) It offers an anonymous mechanism to provide the general public (parents and families of young children) with information on immunization, answer queries and record complaints, thereby enhancing thrust and supporting better decision-making. (2) It establishes a channel to enable community voice to contribute to improvements in governance and delivery of immunization services. The government currently has no effective, rapid mechanism to learn about ground-level problems. We will investigate two potential approaches to harness information from the immunization hotline to improve governance. This project will generate key evidence on a scalable health system innovation within 36 months.

Project Team

Dr. Mira Johri, University of Montreal
Dr. Alok Mathur, Indian Institute of Health Management Research

Partners

University of British Columbia
University of Montreal
McGill University
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
OnionDev previously Gram Vaani Community Media

Current Number of Students: 5

Key Outcomes

Publications: 2