Volume 29, Issue 14 pp. 2509-2648 (21 March 2011)
Implementation and evaluation of the Reaching Every District (RED) strategy in Assam, India, 2005–2008 Original Research Article
Tove K. Ryman, Ajay Trakroo, Aaron Wallace, Satish Kumar Gupta, Karen Wilkins, Pankaj Mehta, Vance Dietz
In 2005, UNICEF and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention implemented and evaluated the Reaching Every District (RED) approach, an intervention designed to improve key components of immunization services including planning, outreach, community mobilization, supervision, and monitoring, in select districts of Assam, India. Two intervention and 3 comparison districts were selected for a 2-year evaluation trial. In intervention districts, immunization staff received comprehensive training and ongoing supervision by a fulltime consultant, and regular monitoring of progress was conducted. Population-based vaccination coverage surveys were conducted at baseline and 2 years after the start of implementation in the 5 districts. Post-intervention process indicators were systematically collected and focus group discussions were held. At follow-up, children in both the intervention and comparison districts were twice as likely to be fully vaccinated as they were at baseline. However, sites that received intervention training were better performing than those that did not, as measured by process indicators, including a higher number of outreach visits planned and held (p = 0.02), having a monitoring chart (p < 0.01), and correctly calculating dropout (p < 0.01). The number of supervisory visits was significantly and positively associated with other key process indicators. Although coverage did not differ significantly between intervention and comparison districts, among individual districts, process data indicate significant improvements in program quality in the intervention districts. Further studies are needed to determine if the improved process indicators have sustainable impact on maintaining improvements in coverage.