Volume 35, Issue 37, Pages 4825-5080 (5 September 2017)
Feasibility of using global system for mobile communication (GSM)-based tracking for vaccinators to improve oral poliomyelitis vaccine campaign coverage in rural Pakistan
Original Research Article
Subhash Chandir, Vijay Kumar Dharma, Danya Arif Siddiqi, Aamir Javed Khan
Despite multiple rounds of immunization campaigns, it has not been possible to achieve optimum immunization coverage for poliovirus in Pakistan. Supplementary activities to improve coverage of immunization, such as door-to-door campaigns are constrained by several factors including inaccurate hand-drawn maps and a lack of means to objectively monitor field teams in real time, resulting in suboptimal vaccine coverage during campaigns. Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) – based tracking of mobile subscriber identity modules (SIMs) of vaccinators provides a low-cost solution to identify missed areas and ensure effective immunization coverage. We conducted a pilot study to investigate the feasibility of using GSM technology to track vaccinators through observing indicators including acceptability, ease of implementation, costs and scalability as well as the likelihood of ownership by District Health Officials. The real-time location of the field teams was displayed on a GSM tracking web dashboard accessible by supervisors and managers for effective monitoring of workforce attendance including ‘time in-time out’, and discerning if all target areas – specifically remote and high-risk locations – had been reached. Direct access to this information by supervisors eliminated the possibility of data fudging and inaccurate reporting by workers regarding their mobility. The tracking cost per vaccinator was USD 0.26/month. Our study shows that GSM-based tracking is potentially a cost-efficient approach, results in better monitoring and accountability, is scalable and provides the potential for improved geographic coverage of health services.