An evaluation of immunization services, using the reaching every district criteria, in two districts of Gujarat, India
BACKGROUND: Immunizations are considered the most successful and cost-effective public health interventions employed today. While immunization coverage in India has improved dramatically in the last decade, areas of very low coverage persist. The University of Michigan School of Public Health and the Indian Institute of Public Health Gandhinagar collaborated to document strengths and weaknesses of immunization service delivery in two districts in India. METHODS: This report describes a qualitative assessment of clinic level immunization service delivery in ten primary health centers (PHCs) located in two districts of Gujarat, India. Assessment criteria were derived from the Reaching Every District (RED) strategy that is intended to provide a framework for delivering childhood immunizations. Staff from the PHCs were interviewed in April 2013. RESULTS: Interviews revealed several barriers to immunization service delivery including: 1) Vaccine and supply stockouts; 2) Hard to reach communities; 3) Unreliable Internet access; 4) Cold chain equipment malfunctions; 5) Inconsistently maintained and utilized immunization records and registries. CONCLUSIONS: Immunization service delivery is a complex process that can encounter barriers at many stages. A RED-based evaluation of the vaccine delivery system in Gujarat, India identified several points where the system was performing sub-optimally and possible solutions to successfully address these challenges.