Integrating family planning and immunization services in Malawi was found to be feasible and beneficial

In this mixed-methods implementation study, routine immunization and family planning services were integrated across health facilities and community sites across two rural districts in Malawi, Dowa and Ntchisi. The total number of women accessing family planning services during the study period increased by 14% while DPT immunization rates for children remained consistent. In interviews, parents and providers found the integration of family planning and immunization services to be feasible and beneficial, indicating a win-win for both services.

Immunization rates increase when Ethiopian mothers receive maternal health services

Ethiopian mothers use of any of three maternal health services — antenatal care, delivery services, or tetanus vaccination — significantly increased the likelihood of their children being fully immunized by 12-23 months of age. Therefore, national immunization initiatives should concentrate on improving access of pregnant women to these key maternal health services.

Travel distance can become a barrier to vaccine access for women seeking neonatal care

An study using GIS to quantify the percent of pregnant women in Mozambique without access to tetanus toxoid (TT) vaccine at varying distances from health facilities estimated that if women cannot travel more than 5 km to a TT immunization site there will be almost 18,000 neonatal tetanus cases each year that could be prevented, costing the country more than US$362 million in treatment costs and lost productivity. Covering 99% of women with TT will currently require people to travel up to 35 km to obtain an immunization.

Integrated community health interventions targeting high-risk populations can improve maternal and child health outcomes

Through use of local Maternal Child Health (MCH) incentives, along with the use of locally appointed Health Activists, India’s National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) multiple-strategy community intervention program was able to achieve household level improvements reflected as an increase in all of the following indicators for women and children over the 7 year program:
– the proportion of pregnant women having 3 or more ante-natal check-ups (from 43% to 74.5%)
– those receiving at least one Tetanus Toxoid injection (from 83.5% to 93.6%)
– institutional deliveries (from 35.7% to 77%)
– post-natal check-ups within 2 weeks of delivery (from 49% to 67.2%) and
– children who received ORS for diarrhea from (32.3% to 44.8%).

Integrated community health interventions targeting underserved populations can lead to reductions in socioeconomic inequalities

In India, a multi-strategy community intervention, the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) was successful in reducing disparities between pregnant women who had an institutional delivery in urban and rural areas. Geographic inequities reduced from 22% to 7.6% and socioeconomic disparities declined from 48.2% to 13%. Post the NRHM period, the difference between the number of children with full vaccination i.e., Bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG) vaccine for tuberculosis, 3 doses of Diphtheria Pertussis and Tetanus vaccine (DTP), 3 doses of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV), and measles vaccine, in urban and rural areas was observed to be non-significant.

Poverty negatively affects the timing of vaccines given to children

In Tanzania, poverty was found to have a negative effect on receiving vaccines on time (at the recommended age). Children in the wealthiest quintile experienced 19% fewer delays for BCG vaccination, 23% fewer delays for the third dose of DTP vaccination, and 31% fewer delays for the first dose of measles-containing vaccine compared to children of the poorest quintile.