The Universal Immunization Programme of the Government of India is the world’s largest immunization programme, with over 27 million children added each year to its vaccination targets. In an unprecedented effort to ensure vaccine availability to every mother and child, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, with support from the United Nations Development Programme, has introduced a unique technological innovation -- the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN). In the north-eastern state of Manipur, eVIN is digitizing vaccine stocks at over 114 vaccine storage centres in 16 districts of the state.
The last-mile vaccine cold chain handlers are introduced to digital record-keeping for vaccines through hands-on training on the eVIN app.
The simple mobile application helps cold chain handlers to easily log vaccine stock positions at the end of each routine immunization day through their smartphones. This information is immediately relayed on a web interface in real-time for assessment by health officials.
Varied geography poses big challenges for vaccine distribution in this small hill-state of India. Vaccines vials are carried over long distances to reach an immunization session site -- in this case, by auxiliary nurses and midwives (ANMs).
Real-time visibility on vaccine stocks and movements through eVIN has helped ensure that vaccines are stocked in right quantities and are available in time.
“After implementation of eVIN, there is no shortage of vaccines in the PHC. EVIN has helped our staff to learn how to use a smartphone and make systematic entries in the register. It is improving the quality of work and management in our PHC,” says Dr Rebika, the medical officer in-charge at the Mekola primary health centre in Imphal.
Kakchingtabam Sumati Devi, cold chain handler at this health centre, shares, “I never knew that a mobile phone could help me so much in my work. Before I used to struggle, counting the vaccines again and again to know my stock status. Now I have my vaccine stock positions on my fingertips through the eVIN mobile application.”
Instances of stock-out of vaccines in Manipur have reduced by over six times in the last six months. By alerting cold chain handlers when the vaccine inventories reach re-order levels, eVIN helps them to assess their stock positions and indent vaccines in time.
With optimal utilization of vaccines through a simple mobile app, eVIN is guaranteeing that no child is returned from a health centre without vaccination.