We are pleased to report that the results of our 6-month pilot program focused on driving demand for lifesaving childhood vaccines has exceeded expectations, and we are ready to roll immunization services out across our operations in Uganda and Kenya. In Q3, we found vaccination default rates were 35% in Uganda—including 4.4% ‘zero dose’ children, who had never been vaccinated—while 26% and 1% were the respective figures for Kenya. But, as a result of our interventions, 75% of defaulters in Uganda and 83% in Kenya received all required immunizations—substantially higher than our 50% immunization completion rate target. We also found that the top reasons people defaulted on immunizations in Q3 were because of health facility stock-outs (30%) and fears of side effects (22%).
Made possible by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, we’ve already made strong progress training 86% (2,412) of the 2,800 CHWs in Uganda that we targeted for training by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, in Kenya, training begins in November, and we intend to ready 2,000 CHWs to provide immunization counseling and referral services across the country by the end of the year. This project is a research implementation initiative designed to determine how best to drive demand for immunizations at the community level. Demand generation work has already begun in earnest, including through radio, posters, and testimonials from CHWs about the importance of immunization. As part of the work supported by Gavi, we are also conducting some tests to see how we can further improve demand generation, including visual aids, such as enhanced child health and immunization growth cards that families can hang and predictive analytics to promote defaulter tracking. The Living Goods tech team is also simplifying the immunization workflow so it is more user-friendly and has more visuals than text, including visualizations of which households have been registered or haven’t been visited in some time.
Strong partnership with the government is essential for this program’s success, especially considering they manage and administer the vaccine supply for which CHWs are working to boost demand. Government collaboration is strong in both Kenya and Uganda, and we’ve worked together to develop CHW immunization guides; training curricula; information, education and communication (IEC) materials; and to facilitate immunization-focused training of trainers’ sessions for 27 Living Goods staff and 86 government health staff across both countries. In Uganda, we are part of the national coordination committee for the Measles/Rubella campaign, and in Kenya we are partnering with PATH on a malaria vaccine effort in Kakamega and Busia counties by distributing IEC materials and holding sensitization meetings.