Mobile network operator partnerships in action for health: A Vietnam case study on mobile network operator and ministry of health engagement for electronic immunization registry application
As health experts, governments, and policymakers around the world harmonize their goals to improve health outcomes through the use of better data and digital tools, the importance of partnerships with key technology stakeholders has become increasingly apparent. With extensive reach among populations, resources, and innovative tools, mobile network operators (MNOs) have a huge potential to strengthen interconnections between the health and technology sectors, and the populations they serve. However, documented guidance on selecting an MNO partner, as well as facilitating and maintaining such a partnership, is currently lacking. After reviewing the successful 2014 pilot of a digital immunization registry that was implemented by the global health nonprofit organization PATH in Ben Tre province, the Ministry of Health (MOH) of Vietnam partnered with Viettel Business Solutions (Viettel), Vietnam’s largest MNO, and PATH to develop and scale up the National Immunization Information System (NIIS), the electronic immunization registry (EIR) that is being implemented today. The objective of this case study is to share lessons learned from the partnership between MOH, Viettel, and PATH to implement and scale up the NIIS. Vietnam’s story of partnership to implement an EIR will ultimately serve as a guide for others to effectively build alliances with or as MNOs in order to achieve future goals, expand immunization coverage, and improve health outcomes around the world.