Home-based records

Curated by: Laura Nic Lochlainn

A home-based record is a health document on which an individual’s history of health services received is recorded. It is maintained in the household by an individual or their caregiver in either paper or electronic format and brought to health visits to be completed by a health worker. Many countries use a form of home-based record; however, they vary in complexity, content and design. Common types include antenatal notes, vaccination-only cards, more expanded child health booklets or vaccination-plus cards and comprehensive, integrated maternal and child health handbooks that usually include health promotion messages. Home-based records are also sometimes referred to as personal health records.

This page provides the following additional information on home-based records:


Repository of home-based records

This section provides a repository of home-based records that have been used in countries around the world. To view all home-based records from a particular country, select the country in the dropdown box. Alternatively, search for home-based records with particular characteristics, such as language, size, format, etc.

To share a home-based record that is not already in the repository, please add your home-based record as a PDF file here (requires TechNet account). If any information is incorrect, please contact the TechNet Moderator.


Information on home-based records

Home-based records are an important component of maternal, new-born and child health services, including immunization service delivery. When well-designed, available in adequate supply, widely adopted and appropriately utilized, home-based records complement facility-based records within routine health information systems by providing a standardized form for legibly recording an individual’s vaccination history and personal health information in an organized and consistent manner for future reference and review (more details on home-based records can be found here).

The World Health Organization recommends the use of home-based records, to complement health facility records, for the care of pregnant women, mothers, new-borns and children to improve care seeking behaviours, men’s involvement and support in the household, maternal and child home care practices, infant and child feeding, and communication between health workers and women, parents, and caregivers.

Home-based records serve as an important information resource to enhance health workers’ ability to make clinical decisions with the potential to enhance continuity of care and alleviate risks such as missed opportunities for delivering vaccination as well as unnecessarily re-vaccination that may be associated with absent or suboptimal documentation within health facilities.

Importantly, home-based records also serve as a point of reference around which health workers may start discussions with individuals or their caregivers and empower them to make informed decisions about their care or the care of their child.

Finally, because home-based records serve as a source of documented evidence of an individual’s vaccination history and health records, they play an important role beyond direct clinical care, including within quality-of-care management and public health monitoring through vaccination coverage surveys and maternal and child health information needs.

Unfortunately, the home-based record is often unable to fulfil its intended purpose due to implementation challenges like:

  • Stockouts, due to poor planning and logistics or lack of funds.
  • Inadequate use of home-based records by health workers.
  • Poor retention of home-based records by women, parents and caregivers.
  • Poor quality of home-based records.
  • The content and design may not meet the needs of the home-based record users.
  • Inequity (health workers may expect payment of home-based records, children may be denied school entry without the card, etc.)

In response to the existing implementation challenges, the guide “Strengthening implementation of home-based records for maternal, new-born and child health” was developed for country programme managers. It provides activities and decision-making tools to enhance processes for planning, selecting content, designing, implementing, and monitoring home-based records. The guide was published as a living document and any feedback to improve it can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or added to the forum discussion on home-based records.

As we continue to understand the reasons for the implementation challenges in order to identify solutions, we believe this site can be an important part of that process, and we look forward to its continued improvement.


Publications on home-based records

Journal articles on home-based records

Forum discussions on home-based records

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