When immunization information systems function well, health workers and families have the knowledge that they need to ensure that every child is vaccinated. Families rely on the child health record to know when their child needs care, and health professionals use the record to ascertain a childâ€™s health history and his or her needs during a given visit. The record is critical to ensure safe and effective vaccination because it identifies children who need to be immunized, have missed immunizations, or are off schedule.
Unfortunately, many families never receive child health records for their children, or they lose or damage these fragile record. Even when families have the records, they are not always accurately filled out because the design itself is confusing and difficult to read and use.
In prior innovation studies by CKS i.e. Vaccine Delivery Innovation Initiative, we have identified problems of varied nature ranging from design and content, to readability and comprehensibility, to symbolism, to material constraints, to value perception and utility of the immunization card. Many of these fundamental failures may cause vaccines to be delivered in the incorrect sequence or not delivered at all, leading to intermittent or complete drop-outs in the RI cycle, which ultimately results in low coverage rates.
A major improvement to a seemingly mundane component of child health could dramatically improve information systems, and better empower health workers and families to protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases. The Gates Foundation is now seeking creative individuals or teams to re-examine the current child health record and design a new, effective one.
Can we design a card that is easy to read and fill intuitively comprehensible by non-literate beneficiaries, provides useful information on due-dates and the benefits of RI? Can we make it robust and capable of surviving wear and tear, natural calamities? Can we make it adaptable to multiple and future recording formats and technologies? Can we create it such that it aligns with local cultural values of protection and thereby serves as a mnemonic reminder of the immunization service? Can our card design go a step further and motivate beneficiaries to avail of the complete cycle of immunization services? Through this card can we help non-literate beneficiaries also interpret the child’s immunization history, general health status, accurately track future due-doses such that they feel empowered and informed of their childâ€™s health status?
The foundation will recognize the top entries â€“ selected by a finalist panel including Melinda Gates (co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), Dr. Margaret Chan (Director-General, WHO), Tony Lake (Executive Director, UNICEF), Robert Fabricant (VP, Frog Design) and Dr. Walt Orenstein (Professor of Medicine, Emory)– with awards of up to $50,000. Award winners may have part or all of the top designs piloted and adopted in as many as 10 countries by 2018.