Health worker compliance is essential for optimal immunization coverage in low and middle-income countries. Barriers to accurate health worker monitoring including poor management, low-quality data, and reporting coupled with overburdened frontline health workers contribute to suboptimal immunization coverage. This is especially the case in remote areas and during house-to-house outreach immunization activities.
Strengthening health worker monitoring and accountability is necessary for the success of any immunization program.
In order to monitor large numbers of Health workers or identify missed areas resulting in suboptimal vaccine coverage during successive campaigns in a district, IRD has leveraged the rapid proliferation of mobile technologies to deploy an innovative, reliable, and cost-effective tracking service to monitor field workers. This technology uses mobile phones with Geographic Information System (GIS) functionality and location-based services (LBS) that utilize Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) and online mapping (Google maps).
In collaboration with the EPI Sindh, the GSM-based GIS tracking is being established and integrated into the government of Sindh’s Zindagi Mehfooz Electronic Immunization Registry, through technological coordination with the mobile network operator providing GSM tracking. Data is displayed on a web dashboard, in the form of reports for supervisors.
This approach enables real-time tracking and monitoring that is independent of field visits.
The GSM tracking service allows any vaccinator with a regular mobile SIM card to be tracked. Compared to GIS, GSM is more suitable for Developing countries, IRD’s GSM-based GIS tracking has shown promising potential to eliminate the possibility of data fudging and inaccurate reporting by workers regarding their mobility.
The tracking service enables supervisors to track vaccinators with a regular mobile SIM.
This project will improve overall monitoring and accountability for cadres of workers involved with vaccination and at the same time is highly scalable given its cost-effectiveness and tremendous potential for improving geographic coverage of health services.