According to Pakistan’s Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI), 27% deaths among children under five years are caused by diseases that could be prevented through vaccinations. These diseases include Poliomyelitis (also known as Polio), Neonatal Tetanus, Measles, Diphtheria, Pertussis (whooping cough), Hepatitis-B, Hib Pneumonia, Meningitis and Tuberculosis. As part of their mission to eradicate polio, the EPI enlisted the help of the PITB to address vulnerabilities in the programme. These relate to less geographic coverage and performance of field vaccinators.
The PITB provided vaccinators smartphones with applications to digitise their fieldwork and monitor attendance and performance. The smartphones were used to enter real-time immunisation records that were then sent to a centralised database.
Attendance of field workers in the Punjab rose from 36% in 2014 to 94% in 2016 and geographical coverage improved from 25% to 88% in the same period as a result of this intervention. The PITB also replicated this programme in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and Balochistan. In KPK, vaccinator attendance improved from 34% in August 2016 to 75% in May 2017. Currently, the project is functional in three out of five Pakistani provinces.