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:

  • Avoiding the distress of illness for the affected person and their loved ones
  • Saving medical treatment costs
  • Averting losses in income or productivity
  • Improving childhood developmental and educational outcomes

Our work

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 work to change this.

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 despite India’s early contributions to vaccine research and development, its current position as a leading global producer of vaccines, and significant progress in strengthening vaccine supply over recent years due to government investment.

Our approach

Suvita implements two rigorously tested solutions which increase uptake of vaccinations in India through community-led nudges. Our work has two core components:

1) Building a network of carefully selected volunteer immunisation ambassadors, who share information with new parents in their community about local vaccine clinics

2) Sending personalised SMS reminders to caregivers informing them when their child is due for a vaccination

Emerging evidence suggests that a combination of both these methods is more effective and more cost-effective than either in isolation.

Why this approach?

Impactful

Cost-effective

Evidence-based

This our programmes are supported by high-quality, recent, local evidence from Haryana, India.

A large-scale randomised controlled trial, conducted by a team from MIT's Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) including two recent Nobel laureates - Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee - found that a combination of immunisation ambassadors and SMS reminders significantly increased the number of children attending government-run immunisation camps by 25%.

You can find out more by following the links below:

  • Summary of the full randomised controlled trial (J-PAL)

  • Media article highlighting the study's key findings (The Tribune, 2019)

  • Summary of the immunisation ambassador component of the study (J-PAL)

  • Publication of the findings of the immunisation ambassador component (Banerjee et al., 2019)

  • Our literature review of 9 randomised controlled trials of SMS reminders (Suvita)

How it works: immunisation ambassadors

1

Survey members of a community to identify opinion leaders

4

Ambassadors share this information with relevant members of their communities

2

Invite opinion leaders to volunteer as immunisation ambassadors

5

Caregivers are reminded to bring infants to free, government-provided vaccination clinics

3

Keep ambassadors updated regularly with details of local monthly immunisation clinics by SMS and phone calls

6

Babies are protected from deadly diseases and others are also protected via herd immunity

How it works: SMS reminders

1

Caregivers sign up for reminders through either:

  • their mobile phone

  • a local NGO

  • the health centre where the baby was born

  • the state government

2

Our automated system sends an SMS reminder 1 day and 7 days before the child is due for a vaccine

3

Caregivers are reminded to bring infants to free, government-provided vaccination clinics

4

Babies are protected from deadly diseases and others are also protected via herd immunity

Impact so far

SMS reminders to

300,000+

caregivers

Estimated 

15,000+

additional immunised children

Working with families in

7

states

Launched 

1

pilot of immunisation ambassadors

Caregivers have enrolled for our SMS reminders in Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and West Bengal. We have ongoing enrollment through hospital partners in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and are in discussions with the Maharashtra state government about partnering to build towards state-wide enrollment through the government birth register. We have launched a phone-based pilot of the immunisation ambassadors programme in Bihar.

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