Immunization is one of the most cost-effective health investments and a proven tool for controlling and eliminating life-threatening infectious diseases. In the Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu, however, the effectiveness of the immunization program is constrained by a paper-based reporting, ordering and forecasting system and a mountainous, remote, jungle-filled geography. These challenges are associated with inaccuracies and delays in reporting, ordering, deliveries and decision-making across Vanuatu’s immunization program.
Tupaia, a data aggregation, analysis, and visualization platform that maps health systems in the Pacific, is carrying out an immunization pilot to address some of the obstacles to greater immunization coverage in Vanuatu. To address some of the challenges laid out above, Tupaia is rolling out a digital reporting, ordering and forecasting system. They have also produced a visual dashboard for health workers and champions within the government who are trained to access, use and interpret information in order to improve timeliness, accuracy, and use of vaccination data. The pilot will inform additional rollouts in neighboring countries in the Pacific.
We have been talking about how valuable it is to do this [Learning Check] now, before we’ve committed too much to one direction. Especially from the Tupaia side, we are yet to build out the dashboards. To take in these barriers, for example, low data literacy, we can make it simpler than what we were planning, such as basic text rather than complicated graphs. It’s a fantastic opportunity really early on.
As part of a broader innovation partnership with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Results for Development (R4D) is working closely with the Tupaia team to test the assumptions in their Theory of Change and strengthen their immunization work utilizing R4D’s Adaptive Learning Approach. Adaptive Learning incorporates formative research and structured experimentation to foster rapid learning and adaptation of the intervention model.
To kick off the project, the R4D and Tupaia teams came together to co-create a Theory of Change for Tupaia’s work and to identify possible areas of collaboration. Following a formative research phase to test key assumptions and identify potential constraints to the success of the immunization pilot, the R4D team is lean testing different approaches to support the uptake of the digital reporting and ordering system at the clinic level and data use at the national level. In the coming weeks and months, the R4D team will collect and analyze data that will clarify the type of support and level of effort that is required for the successful uptake of digital systems in Vanuatu and elsewhere. In addition, they will work closely with the Tupaia team as Tupaia pilots their immunization decision-making tool to maximize its usability and impact in the country.
Photo Credit: © Tupaia/Beyond Essential Systems