As an outcome of a project including giving health workers cheap smartphones, the vaccinations rates have increased significantly. The scheme that was being carried out in collaboration with British, cost less than £1m and has resulted in hundreds of kids availing vaccinations and have been immunized. The location data from the given phones was used to assist planners to understand due to what reasons they were unable to fulfill the vaccines targets for Punjab previously.
The data revealed that the contributing reasons for the low vaccines rates are actually inadequacy of facilities, insufficiency of staff, because the staff had been bunking off and because the government wasn’t paying the transport allowances.
Giving out $80 smartphones helped the stats reach a significantly high point, reaching to every village and immunization rates climbed from 47% of 82% over the span of two years.
The success of the program inspired many countries and application of similar model was seen in Afghanistan, Mozambique, Congo and Ethiopia.
The scheme is called eVaccs and first began in Punjab back in 2014, is funded by World Bank and British. A team of 4000 workers was already employed in the region to deliver immunization against illnesses such as whooping cough, measles, diphtheria and tetanus but the vaccines weren’t reaching the needy segment.
“The big challenge is you have got to get a vaccinator to visit every village in Punjab once a month” – said a British-funded consultant on the project, Fenton Whelan.
Fenton said that it was evident that they lacked information about day to day activities on the project.
“Using the same technology that we all use every day on WhatsApp or Google Maps to track location just seemed like the obvious way to do that.” – He said.
PITB (Punjab Information Technology Board) worked out an application that allowed the vaccinators to click a button when they injected a child and the location – so it helped to keep track of the data.
The data also revealed how and why the program failed in the past.
“About 10 per cent of vaccinators actually quit during the first six months of the programme and those were the ones who essentially never showed up for work and the technology exposed that’’ – Fenton said
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