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Interculturally Competent Analysis of the Uptake of Routine Vaccination

Interculturally Competent Analysis of the Uptake of Routine Vaccination



Project Objectives

In recent years, many public health initiatives promoting vaccination uptake in infants have begun to leverage the growing mobile-cellular subscription base in developing countries — either by sending reminders on upcoming vaccinations to caregivers using inexpensive voice or text messaging services, or via provision of smart digital data collection and management systems on phones that enable frontline community health workers keep track of vaccination histories and coverage indicators. However, gender gaps in mobile phone ownership and use still remain a barrier to the effectiveness of these mobile health (or "mHealth") services in improving vaccination uptake at the household level. While mothers are typically the primary recipients of mHealth reminder services for their infants and also the ones most likely to bring the infants to the vaccination clinics, they are most often not the primary owners or users of mobile devices in their household.

This multidisciplinary Bass Connections team will conduct an interculturally competent comparative analysis of the uptake of routine childhood vaccination services in two settings: Kumasi, Ghana, a rural setting with low vaccination rates (<70% coverage estimated); and Roatan, Honduras, a rural setting with high vaccination rates (>90% coverage estimated). Given cultural perceptions and differences, it becomes crucial that healthcare professionals and global health researchers are competent in working across cultures -- not just in terms of their training, but also in terms of communication skills. This project has three aims: (1) understanding knowledge, attitudes and practices affecting vaccination uptake; (2) analyzing gender differences in mobile phone ownership and use within households; and (3) assessment of intercultural competence of team members engaged in research. Student team members will receive training in hypothesis testing, research design, survey data collection, quantitative analysis and intercultural competence through didactic and experiential learning opportunities. The team will distill lessons learned and key barriers to the uptake of vaccinations as well as gender-based and socio-cultural constructs in household mobile technology ownership and use. Final deliverables may include abstracts submitted to global health/mHealth conferences, manuscript(s) submitted to peer-reviewed journals, and preliminary data for inclusion into future grant proposals.

Project Opportunities

Team members will be selected based on strong interest in global health, vaccines and/or mobile technologies from a variety of backgrounds such as global health, social sciences, humanities, biostatistics, or medicine. Applicants with previous research experience and/or local knowledge of Ghanaian or Honduran cultures/languages may be preferred over other applicants at the same learner levels. For students interested in traveling to Honduras, intermediate to advance proficiency in Spanish is preferred. Expertise in the use of quantitative software (e.g. STATA) is a plus but not required. We are hoping to recruit two undergraduate and two graduate/professional students or Postdocs to the team.

Project Application Process

Please complete the Bass Central Application process, located here: https://bassconnections.duke.edu/content/common-application.

When you have completed that process, please send an email to Lysa.mackeen@duke.edu with the title of the project and "application completed" in the subject line.

Project Placements Available


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