mHealth-assisted conditional cash transfers to improve timeliness of childhood vaccinations
Each year, vaccinations prevent more than 2.5 million child deaths globally. Vaccinations are a cost-effective strategy for conferring immunity against many preventable diseases, but evidence has shown that children who grow up in socioeconomically-disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to be vaccinated late or not at all, compared to children from wealthier families. In countries such as Tanzania, while vaccine coverage rates are relatively high across the country, regional variations exist, and vaccines are not always administered in a timely manner.
To address these issues, global health professor Jan Ostermann and research scholar Lavanya Vasudevan will research local barriers to timely vaccinations and identify an mHealth-assisted incentive structure%u2014including reminders and incentive payments delivered via SMS%u2014that can systematically offset the barriers faced by families with infants. They’ll carry out this work in collaboration with Joy Noel Baumgartner from the DGHI Evidence Lab and partners at Tanzania’s National Institute for Medical Research and the government’s Expanded Programme on Immunisations.
The project will develop and evaluate an mHealth-supported vaccination scheduling, reminder and tracking system, combined with a multi-tiered financial incentive scheme for families with young children to improve timely vaccinations in Tanzania.