In Côte d’Ivoire, insufficient data is one of the biggest barriers to giving every child life-changing vaccines. Caregivers do not always know when their children need a vaccination, while health workers often rely on incomplete health records.
To address this problem, Gavi is working with the Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene (MHPH) and Orange, a leading telecommunications provider. Together, they launched M-Vaccin Côte d’Ivoire, an app for mobile phones and other devices, with the aim of increasing immunisation coverage by improving vaccine data and communication.
M-Vaccin uses text and voice messaging to inform caregivers about vaccinations and to send appointment reminders in local languages. The app also helps health workers capture data to create personalised electronic immunisation schedules for each family served, aiming to reduce the number of dropouts.
The MHPH, Orange and Gavi collaborated for months before launching M-Vaccin to ensure it was tailored to Côte d’Ivoire’s needs. They mapped out each step of vaccine delivery to determine if and how the app could help. Then they tested the technology and gathered feedback from trainees, making adjustments to ensure its efficacy. In December 2019, M-Vaccin was released for use around the country.
By the end of 2019, approximately 150 health workers in three initial districts had attended training to get the most out of M-Vaccin. Within two months, health workers in Duékoué, the first district to be trained, had already registered nearly 2,000 mothers to receive personalised messages.
The initial outreach also presented an opportunity to further iterate the app. For example, feedback indicated that the registration process was too time-consuming. Orange streamlined the app before deployment to the next two districts, Nassian and Touba. Ultimately, project partners intend to scale M-Vaccin to reach 800,000 caregivers across 50 districts.
Since M-Vaccin’s early planning stages, the partnership has focused on sustainability, considering how to transition project management to the MHPH. The partners have investigated ways to make the app’s maintenance and training more cost-effective and self-sustaining so that the government can fund the project eventually. One approach is to craft training videos to replace in-person sessions. Additionally, the non-profit VillageReach is supporting the partners by offering coordination and management “to effectively respond to demand through to the last mile – where healthcare is delivered.” The ultimate goal is to establish a partnership that Orange and the MHPH can continue independently.
Orange has gone beyond traditional corporate social responsibility to be an operations partner to the MHPH. Both parties are committed for the long term and recognise the importance of continuously improving the app by reflecting on lessons learned during deployment. Orange is also committed to facilitating M-Vaccin implementation in additional Gavi-supported countries that may be interested.