Despite efforts, over 1.5 million children die from vaccine-preventable diseases annually. Many children miss out on vaccination services because of lack of knowledge among caregivers and because these children reside in hard-to-reach communities not served by health care workers. This problem is more acute in the marginalized communities marked by poverty, low literacy levels and limited social mobility. Several interventions have been tested to address these challenges but top-down, blanket efforts to boost immunization coverage do not constitute the optimal strategy for improving uptake in such settings.
To overcome this problem, we will create an engaged, informed and empowered force of adolescent girls — Kiran Sitaras (KSs) to become community advocates for immunization.
Through collaborating with School Education and Literacy Department, Government of Sindh we will train KSs on Adolescent Health and Leadership Program. The trained KSs will begin advocacy and screening activities to identify never- and under-immunized children in their neighborhoods through conducting door-to-door surveys. Once the immunization status of children is validated through follow-up visits conducted by trained field staff, KSs will invite caregivers of the never- and under-immunized children to immunization camps which will be set up in collaboration with the Expanded Programme on Immunizations (EPI), Health Department, Government of Sindh.
Through this system, we will mobilize young girls to become leaders and empower their communities, while increasing demand and uptake in hard-to-reach communities. This program aims to target 3 Towns and achieve over 5000 household visits in Karachi by October 2020.