Vaccines prevent disease, save lives and produce social and economic benefits.
Vaccinations are one of our greatest public health successes to date, averting 2-3 million child deaths every year.
They are one of the most cost-effective and evidence-based medical interventions available, responsible for a huge reduction in the global burden of infectious diseases.
Vaccines also bring social and economic benefits for individuals and society, such as:
- Saving medical treatment costs
- Averting losses in income or productivity
Experts estimate that every $1 invested in expanding immunisation
returns $60 in social, economic and environmental benefits.
Yet routine vaccines still do not reach everyone.
Globally, one child dies every minute from a vaccine-preventable disease. This is because 19 million children fail to receive their basic vaccinations before their first birthday each year. At Suvita, we believe that this is unacceptable.
Vaccination coverage varies widely between and within countries, so certain regions bear a much greater load than others when it comes to vaccine-preventable diseases. Half of the world’s undervaccinated children are in India. The country suffers the death of one child every four minutes as a result. This is particularly shocking given India’s early contributions to vaccine research and development and its current position as a leading global producer of vaccines.
Suvita implements a rigorously tested solution which increases demand for vaccinations in India by appointing carefully selected volunteer immunisation ambassadors, who share information with new parents within their community about local vaccine clinics.
Survey members of a community to identify opinion leaders
Ambassadors share this information with relevant members of their communities
Invite opinion leaders to volunteer as immunisation ambassadors
Caregivers are reminded to bring infants to free, government-provided vaccination clinics
Keep ambassadors updated regularly with details of local monthly immunisation clinics by SMS and phone calls
Babies are protected from deadly diseases and others are also protected via herd immunity
Why have we chosen this method?
This method is supported by high-quality, recent, local evidence from Haryana, India.
A large-scale randomised controlled trial, conducted by a team from MIT's Poverty Action Lab including two recent Nobel laureates - Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee - found that this method significantly increased the number of children attending government-run immunisation camps by 22%.
We are merging with Charity Science Health! Keep an eye out out for a full announcement soon. Like Suvita, CSH focuses on information spread to increase vaccination uptake - their programme uses the medium of SMS reminders rather than community ambassadors. Emerging evidence suggests that a combination of both these methods is more effective and more cost-effective than either in isolation. We are now exploring how to integrate these two programmes in the geographical regions where each charity operates. Find out more about CSH's SMS reminders work here.