Intervention Spotlight: Electronic Immunization Registry
By Tara Newton, Communications Associate, BID Initiative
Jul 1, 2015
A key intervention for the BID Initiative is the national electronic immunization registry that will ensure all children are registered from birth and do not miss a potentially life-saving vaccine.
The national electronic immunization registry is an electronic database that will contain all children in Tanzania and their immunization data such as what vaccines they’ve had and which ones are due. At facilities with electricity and high volumes of patients, children’s vaccinations will be registered in an online form via a computer or tablet. Health workers will simply enter a child’s ID into the electronic system through a barcode sticker located on their health card and input the vaccines he or she received that day. Facilities with lower volumes or with inadequate infrastructure will use simple, modified paper forms that are compatible with the electronic system. By scanning a barcode on the paper registry (which is identical to the barcode placed on the child’s health record), children can be added and tracked in the national immunization registry and all facilities will have visibility into the data, notifying health workers when a scheduled vaccine is missed.
Children can be registered at the health facility, or in the event of a home birth, by a village representative or community health worker through Short Message Service (SMS) that will create a new record in the registry. An immunization schedule will then be automatically generated for each child.
Currently in Tanzania, birth vaccine doses (BCG and OPV) are registered on the mother’s antenatal card and the child’s health card starts at the six-week visit. Since a child’s birth will now be registered, the health facility will expect the child at six weeks and have enough information to contact the mother if they default on their first visit. Currently in Tanzania, there is no way to know which child does not appear for their six-week visit.
The electronic immunization registry system addresses a number of challenges in immunization services:
Defaulter tracing: Rather than spending hours sifting through a dense immunization registry to try to determine which children missed a vaccination, health workers will now know exactly who didn’t show up for their vaccinations, where to find them, and how to contact their caregiver.
Planning for immunization services: Facilities will have a list of all children due for vaccinations each month. Since the immunization registry contains all children in the country, they can tell if a child was vaccinated outside of their “home” facility, identify patterns where the individual seeks care, and target support to underutilized facilities.
Estimating target populations: All children are entered within 48 hours of their birth providing a more exact catchment area, especially for children under one year of age. This provides a more accurate calculation of coverage estimates as well as population served to then order the right level of stock and supplies.
Streamlining monthly reporting: Real-time data entry allows for simplified, auto-generated reports reducing the burden on health workers and the chance for human error. For facilities using paper, reports will be available within a few days and uploaded to the system by the district information officer. The district information officer will then produce a report for the following month with the upcoming vaccinations due and send it to facilities with their monthly supplies.
The electronic immunization registry will enable health workers to do their job more efficiently and reach more children. They’ll now know which kids are in their catchment area and what their vaccine schedule is and where and how to find them if they missed a vaccine. They’ll also save valuable time on monthly reporting that will be better spent on providing care.
Track our progress as we implement this intervention and more in Tanzania on our interactive map.