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Vaccination refusal is becoming a major barrier for the success of immunization programmes. According to the WHO, in 2008 around 1.5 million deaths of children (17% of children mortality) could have been prevented by vaccinations. Anti-vaccine beliefs and attitude are basically classified as:
(a) myths, rumors and misconceptions related to vaccines itself as an entity; or
(b) Loss of trust on immunization campaign, program and towards the people involved in service delivery.
Information and communication are the keys to gain trust and reduce vaccine hesitancy. The communication about vaccination is rapidly shifting towards digital media. Communication has been transformed rapidly in the recent years due to the advance of digital media that is the use of digital technology to store and transmit the content, including online content via Internet, use of short message service (SMS) via mobile phones and also offline media such as DVDs. Online content is taking prime importance. Low- and lower-middle income countries have experienced an explosion in Internet access in the last few years, especially due to the emergence of mobile Internet. It is reasonable to assume that Internet, and other digital media like DVD and SMS, within a few years will become one of the major channels for disseminating and retrieving health information. It is suspected that the recent increase in vaccination hesitancy might be linked to the success of online anti-vaccination groups, not only in high-income countries but also middle-income countries such as South Africa. There are also reports on the use of digital media by anti-vaccination groups in developing countries. Hence it is even more important now to utlize these platforms to imporve knowledge and communication regarding the effectivness of vaccination and demystify the propagating myths.
Please share with us your views regarding how information and communication strategies can be utilized to improve immunzation coverage and reduce refusals.

  • rehanasalam Rehana A Salam 30 Oct 2013

    Very interesting topic of discussion as childhood vaccination is one of the potential interventions that could significantly reduce childhood morbidity and mortality due to the preventable illnesses. Use of information communication technology has increased over the last few years in public health. It is also increasingly being advocated to improve maternal and child health in developing countries where access to healthcare is still limited and the infrastructure remains fragile. Especially there is considerable enthusiasm for mobile-health interventions as there is huge potential for mobile-health interventions to improve access to health care knowledge in
    resource-poor settings. With the recent setbacks seen in Nigeria and Pakistan for the polio vaccination drives, it is increasingly important to convince masses about the vaccine effectiveness and reducing refusals.

    Following are a couple of references on the effectiveness of utilizing information communication technology that might be a good read:

    Free, C., et al., The effectiveness of mobile-health technologies to improve health care service delivery processes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS medicine, 2013. 10(1): p. e1001363.

    McLean, S., et al., The Impact of Telehealthcare on the Quality and Safety of Care: A Systematic Overview. PloS one, 2013. 8(8): p. e71238.

    Noordam, A.C., et al., Improvement of maternal health services through the use of mobile phones. Tropical Medicine & International Health, 2011. 16(5): p. 622-626.

  • zohralassi Zohra Lassi 4 Nov 2013

    Indeed very interesting. This is one of the area I would like to work on. With all the promising evidence that has emerged during the past few years, utilizing technology to further improve the coverage rates is yet to be explored. Reminders to caregivers and health workers involved can potentially bring a huge success in this area. Thanks Rehana for these useful papers, I would go through the studies you have mentioned here.

  • zohralassi Zohra Lassi 5 Nov 2013

    I just came to know through a colleague and friend of mine (Aamer Imdad) that CDC recently published Global Routine Vaccination Coverage — 2012

    This can be accessed at the following link.
    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6243a4.htm

  • aamer08 Dr Aamer Imdad 5 Nov 2013

    Thanks Zohra for sharing. It is talks about the most recent vaccine coverage globally and implies that many children, especially those in less developed countries, remain at risk for vaccine-preventable diseases and suggests that strategies to improve vaccination coverage might differ for those children
    who have never been vaccinated, compared with those who have started but not completed the immunization series. An area to think about.

  • jaikdas Jai K Das 5 Nov 2013

    Thanks for sharing resources and your views friends.
    I would like to introduce Prof Alain B. Labrique from Dept of International Health / Dept of Epidemiology. He is the founding director of the Johns Hopkins University Global mHealth Initiative, which is a multi-disciplinary consortium of faculty and students engaged in mHealth innovation and research across the Johns Hopkins system. He is also a lead investigator in several research projects measuring the impact of mobile information and communications technologies on improving maternal, neonatal and infant outcomes in resource-limited settings, primarily in South Asia. In 2011, Dr. Labrique was recognized as one of the Top 11 mHealth Innovators by the Rockefeller Foundation and the mHealth Alliance. In addition to developing training curricula for mHealth education, Prof Labrique serves as an mHealth advisor for international and global health agencies.

    He has shared with us some important links on the subject that are of great interest.

    http://tinyurl.com/unimmunizedchild

    https://www.google.com/search?q=mhealth+for+immunization&oq=mhealth+for+immunization&aqs=chrome..69i57.5652j0j4&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=119&ie=UTF-8#es_sm=119&espv=210&nirf=health+for+immunization&q=mhealth+for+immunization