Routine immunisation coverage for children in Pakistan stands at 59%, well below the recommended coverage of 90%. This has led to continued polio transmission, large measles outbreaks and a multitude of deaths due to vaccine-preventable diseases.
In response to these challenges, the Aga Khan University has undertaken a research study, Paigham-e-Sehat, meaning ‘a message of health’ in the local Urdu language, led by Dr Momin Kazi in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health. The project aims to assess the effectiveness of different types of text messages and automated calls in improving uptake of routine immunisations. It also aims to understand the perceptions and barriers that may affect text and voice-based interventions.
During 2017, the AKDN Digital Health Resource Centre helped develop the Paigham-e-Sehat application to support the project. The platform allows researchers and project administrators to send behavioural communication change messages regarding routine immunisations via voice (IVR) and text (SMS) to communities.
The mHealth research study will help address the dearth of information about the socio-cultural context regarding the possible role of text and voice-based messages to improve uptake of immunisations in Pakistan.Through this app, the project focuses on identifying the level of acceptability of the medium of services for vaccination monitoring.
The Paigham-e-Sehat project is a three-year project, funded by Rising Star Grand Challenges Canada. Implementation of the platform was carried out in a peri-urban Health and Demographic Surveillance System site in Karachi and Matiari, Pakistan during 2018, followed by research activities for the project.