An effective tool in the hands of the right person can make all the difference in the world. Such is the case in Chandradeepa*, a remote village in northern India, where a simple tool helps motivate parents to ensure their children are immunized against common diseases that can cripple and kill.
As an auxiliary nurse midwife, Ms. Esther Das caters to primary health care needs of her community and provides a critical link in India’s efforts to end preventable deaths among children and meet the country’s obligations under the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP).
In her community, Ms. Esther has helped achieve an impressive vaccination rate of 98.1%. Since April 2011, she has been using a tool called “My Village My Home” (MVMH), developed by JSI staff working on USAID’s MCHIP project, to enlist and track the beneficiaries in her village. “By using the tool, I am able to count all the infants/children in my community with their immunization status on a single chart. By just looking at the MVMH tool, I get to know the number of children missing immunization,” says Ms. Esther.
Additionally, the tool allows parents to track their children’s immunization progress compared with other children in the same community. “I feel very proud when I see my child’s name in this chart. I have provided all the required vaccines to my child till date, as per this tool,” said Durga Kumari, mother of a one-year-old child. Tool also helps parents see that, through vaccination, they protect not only their own children but the entire village.
Each vaccine dose administered to a child and recorded on the tool signifies a brick in a home. As more children get vaccinated and complete their due vaccinations, more bricks are filled in, thus strengthening the home, which depicts the village. The tool is posted in a public place (Anganwadi center) so everyone can see and take pride in their community’s results.
During 2011, MCHIP (the USAID-funded Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program) introduced this tool in 28 Anganwadi centers in Jamtara and Deoghar districts to capture and follow up the immunization status of all children born in the village in a year (one birth cohort) up to the age of 24 months. Use of the MVMH tool yielded good results, with improved coverage for all antigens during the prospective study done in April 2012–13 (BCG-96%, OPV1-93%, DPT1-94%, HEP1-93.9%).
For more information about the My Village My Home program and this low-cost, effective tool, watch this Youtube video.
For a more academic analysis of the program, read this journal in USAID’s journal, Global Health: Science and Practice.
This blog post is part of the #ProtectingKids blog series organized by @PATHtweets. Read the whole series
* Chandradeepa is a village in district Jamtara in the state of Jharkhand in India.
Learn more about the Maternal & Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP).