News @ JSI

JSI Receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant

November 20, 2017

JSI recently received a Grand Challenges Explorations Grant, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to pursue a development research project, titled “Improving routine vaccination timeliness in India by systematically announcing the arrival of vaccination teams.”

Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) supports innovative thinkers worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges. JSI’s project is one of 51 Grand Challenges Explorations Round 19 grants announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

To receive funding, JSI and other GCE Explorations winners submitted a proposal related to one of four critical global health and development topic areas. The foundation will be accepting applications for the next GCE round in February 2018.

“JSI is excited to work with the community to optimize attendance at routine immunization sessions,” said Robert Steinglass, director of JSI's Immunization Center. “If successful, we hope that this inexpensive, low-tech model can be scaled up using locally available resources.” 

JSI’s project will test the use of traditional methods in India to announce the arrival of routine vaccination outreach teams to villages in two blocks of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. With support from JSI, accredited social health activists and auxiliary nurse midwifes will work with the local drum beaters (or other “sound-makers”) to use traditional methods to announce the arrival of the vaccination team to the village. Once the sound becomes familiar in the community, parents and caregivers will have the confidence to bring their children for vaccination at their local facility.

Baseline and endline data will be collected from the immunization registers maintained in each sub-center to assess any improvement during the intervention as well as the perceptions of community members and health workers around the acceptability and effectiveness of the drum (or other sound) in alerting communities that the immunization session is about to begin.

This approach is designed to be low-cost, scalable, and contextually relevant, using locally available and culturally appropriate tools to increase attendance at routine immunization sessions and improve timely vaccination coverage.

About Grand Challenges Explorations
Grand Challenges Explorations is a US$100 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Launched in 2008, over 1,365 projects in more than 65 countries have received Grand Challenges Explorations grants. The grant program is open to anyone from any discipline and from any organization. The initiative uses an agile, accelerated grant-making process with short two-page online applications and no preliminary data required. Initial grants of US$100,000 are awarded twice a year. Successful projects have the opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to US$1 million. Read a Gates Foundation Impatient Optimists blog about the award, Bold Ideas to Tackle Health & Development Problems – Announcing The Next Wave of Grand Challenges Explorations Winners.