Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective strategies for conferring immunity against a host of preventable diseases. The World Health Organization estimates that over 2.5 million child deaths are prevented annually worldwide due to vaccination efforts, however, an estimated 24 million children under the age of one are not reached by immunization programs. Infants must receive all recommended vaccinations in a timely manner to be fully protected from deadly infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis and polio. A large body of evidence has shown that children in socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to be vaccinated late, or not at all, compared to their counterparts from wealthier and more educated families, leaving them susceptible to preventable illness. While Tanzania has successfully achieved high national vaccination coverage, substantial regional variation exists and intermittent vaccination campaigns have masked poor rates of vaccination timeliness. In this proposal we seek to evaluate the feasibility and utility of combining two emerging types of interventions – mobile health (mHealth) and conditional cash transfers – to overcome individual barriers to timely vaccinations.
Principal Investigator(s): Lavanya Vasudevan, Jan Ostermann (USC), Joy Noel Baumgartner