We, as partners working in the immunization supply chain, must adapt and be willing to question the status quo in order to bring about improvements, increase access to potent vaccines, and ultimately increase coverage rates.
Working alongside Indian health officials, USAID is showing how simple antibiotic injections in the hands of heroic local health workers are saving newborn lives.
It makes good sense to invest in routine immunizations. It gives one of the highest returns on investment—up to 44 dollars for every one dollar spent. In this blog post, Dr. Folake Olayinka outlines the steps that Nigeria can take to improve its low immunization rates and strengthen its routine immunization system.
Preventable childhood diseases are a major national health concern throughout Pakistan, where just slightly more than half of all children are fully immunized. Nowhere is the occurrence of measles, pneumonia, and hepatitis B—to name just a few of the common illnesses—more glaring than in remote villages.
Home-Based Records (HBRs) are an important data collection and monitoring tool used by parents, health workers, and health administrators to track a child’s vaccination history. In Zimbabwe, JSI is promoting the use of HBRs (known locally as Child Health Cards) to improve timely immunization and tracking in 10 health facilities in Manicaland province.
Last week, UNICEF hosted a meeting where experts with a combined 1,000 years of practice in cold chain maintenance discussed some of the current challenges and opportunities related to cold chain maintenance and temperature monitoring at the country level. This blog highlights some of the key themes that came out of the meeting.
Ultimately, preparing for outbreaks begins long before the first case and must entail a strong routine immunization system that provides vaccinations to all target groups, regular communication and education of the public, regular upskilling of health workers, strong surveillance, prepositioning and stockpiling vaccines and appropriate medicines.
Immunization supply chains managers should be thinking about how to use new technology and innovative ideas to deliver more product, faster, and at a lower cost. We aren’t looking for Amazon Prime and delivery in an hour (although that would be nice). What is needed, though, is a reliable and efficient supply chain system that guarantees that all children can be immunized.
Sometimes, simpler solutions like paper cards are more efficient and usable than technology – particularly where they are needed most and where mobile services, electricity, the internet, and computers are not reliably available. Also, often the paper cards – when their value is emphasized and understood – can “live on” longer than the ever-changing and limited archival storage of electronic systems. A combination of both can be very effective.
It takes commitment at all levels – from global, country and community levels to individual health workers and families – to ensure that vaccination works so that vaccines can work.