This year, the immunization program in Tanzania continued to ensure every child is reached with lifesaving vaccines through adequate availability and distribution of vaccines and cold chain equipment. It also helped promote and expand outreach services, as well as generate demand within communities. In this issue of Tanzania's Immunization Vaccine Development (IVD) Program newsletter, IVD shares progress from the past year.
The BID Learning Network (BLN) invites you to watch a virtual panel discussion called “Experiences of Health Workers in the Use of Electronic Immunization Registries: Lessons from Tanzania and Zambia.” This webinar will be of interest to data management specialists, Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) managers, health management information system (HMIS) specialists, and other health care specialists committed to improving data collection, quality, and use across health systems.
The BID Learning Network (BLN) invites you to watch a webinar presentation on “Electronic Immunization Registries in Tanzania and Zambia: From Design to Deployment.” The BID Initiative, a PATH project with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation worked closely with the ministries of health in Tanzania and Zambia to address data-related challenges faced by their immunization programs. The BID Initiative developed interventions comprising electronic immunization registries (EIRs), supply chain management, and data use tools. Join us in this webinar where the speakers provide an overview of the process to develop the digital health solutions, from the design stage through to deployment of the system.
Poor data quality and use negatively impact immunization programs in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). In addition, many LMICs have a shortage of health personnel, and staff available have demanding workloads across several health programs. In order to address these challenges, the BID Initiative introduced a comprehensive suite of interventions, including an electronic immunization registry aimed at improving the quality, reliability, and use of immunization data in Tanzania and Zambia. BID conducted a micro-costing study to estimate the economic costs of service delivery and logistics for the immunization programs with and without the BID interventions in a sample of health facilities and district program offices in each country. The full article can be found in the Pan African Medical Journal.
The BID Learning Network invites you to watch a webinar on “Electronic Immunization Registries and the COVID-19 Response.” This presentation included speakers from the World Health Organization, the BID Initiative, and Interactive Research and Development. It was followed by an open discussion on how to leverage routine health system data to understand the impacts of COVID-19.
As technology has become cheaper and more accessible, health programs are adopting digital health interventions (DHI) to improve the provision of and demand for health services. These interventions are complex and require strong coordination and support across different health system levels and government departments, and they need significant capacities in technology and information to be properly implemented. Electronic immunization registries (EIRs) are types of DHI used to capture, store, access, and share individual-level, longitudinal health information in digitized records. The BID Initiative worked in partnership with the governments of Tanzania and Zambia to introduce an EIR at the sub-national level in both countries within 5 years as part of a multi-component complex intervention package focusing on data use capacity-building. We aimed to gather and describe learnings from the BID experience by conducting a framework-based mixed methods study to describe perceptions of factors that influenced scale-up of the EIR. Read the full article in Implementation Science Communications.
Between 2013 and 2018, BID designed, developed, and introduced an electronic immunization registry in three regions in Tanzania and one province in Zambia. The Initiative’s financial records were used to account for the financial costs of designing and developing the EIRs, BID staff time, expenditures for rolling out the EIR systems and the related suite of interventions to health facilities, and recurrent costs. Total financial costs, cost per facility and cost per child were calculated in 2018 US$. By documenting the costs associated with introducing an EIR, BID hopes to help other countries introduce more affordable platforms for their own health landscapes. Read the full article in BMJ Global Health.
The governments of Tanzania and Zambia identified key data-related challenges affecting immunization service delivery including identifying children due for vaccines, time-consuming data entry processes, and inadequate resources. To address these challenges, since 2014, the countries have partnered with PATH’s Better Immunization Data (BID) Initiative to design and deploy a suite of data quality and use interventions. Two key aspects of the interventions were an electronic immunization registry and tools and practices to strengthen a culture of data use. As both countries deployed the interventions, three distinct changes in data use emerged organically. This article provides a detailed summary of these three phases or waves, based mostly on qualitative data or observation: (1) strengthening data collection using new data collection tools and processes and increasing efficiency of health workers; (2) improving data quality regarding accuracy and completeness; and (3) increasing use of data to take action to strengthen their work and for programmatic decision making. These waves clearly demonstrated the growing ability of health workers to move from data collectors to data analyzers who began to focus on the data quality and then the value of using the data in their day-to-day activities. For the full article, visit Global Health: Science and Practice.
The BID Learning Network invites you to view a webinar presentation titled “Cultivating a Data Use Culture: Lessons Learned from the BID Initiative.” Global and national stakeholders have acknowledged that routine immunization programs face significant challenges related to the collection, availability, and use of data for planning, management, and improvement of program performance. To address these critical data challenges, the BID Initiative worked with the governments of Tanzania and Zambia, to introduce a suite of interventions at facility and district levels.
As part of the work the BID Initiative undertook starting in 2013 to improve countries’ collection, quality, and use of immunization data, PATH partnered with countries to identify the critical requirements for an electronic immunization registry (EIR). An EIR became the core intervention to address the data challenges that countries faced but also presented complexities during the development process to ensure that it met the core needs of the users. The work began with collecting common system requirements from 10 sub-Saharan African countries; these requirements represented the countries’ vision of an ideal system to track individual child vaccination schedules and elements of supply chain. Through iterative development processes in both Tanzania and Zambia, the common requirements were modified and adapted to better fit the country contexts and users’ needs, as well as to be developed with the technology available at the time. This process happened across four different software platforms. The BID Initiative recently published a paper to Frontiers in Public Health that outlines the process undertaken and analyzes similarities and differences across the iterations of the EIR in both countries, culminating in the development of a registry in Zambia that includes the most critical aspects required for initially deploying the registry and embodies what could be considered the minimum viable product for an EIR. Read the full article in Frontiers in Public Heath.