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Engaging Communities With a Simple Tool to Help Increase Immunization Coverage

Download this publicationThe level of vaccination coverage in a given community depends on both service factors and the degree to which the public understands and trusts the immunization process. This article describes an approach that aims to raise awareness and boost demand. Developed in India, the “My Village Is My Home” (MVMH) tool, known as Uma Imunizasaun (UI) in Timor-Leste, is a poster-sized material used by volunteers and health workers to record the births and vaccination dates of every infant in a community. Introduction of the tool in 5 districts of India and in 7 initial villages in Timor-Leste allowed community leaders, volunteers, and health workers to monitor the vaccination status of every young child and guided reminder and motivational visits.

In India, pilot communities had 80% or higher coverage of identified and eligible children for all vaccines. In comparison, overall coverage in the respective districts during the same time period was much lower, at 49% to 69%. In Timor-Leste, both the number of infants identified and immunized rose substantially with use of the tool compared with the previous year. The experiences in both countries suggest that “My Village Is My Home” is a promising tool that has the potential to broaden program coverage by marshalling both community residents and health workers to track individual children's vaccinations. Three states in India have adopted the tool, and Timor-Leste had also planned to scale-up the initiative.

Glob Health Sci Pract 2015;3(1):117-125.

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