Vaccination Friend (Tikakaran- Mitra in Hindi), is an unique concept conceived by Mission India Foundation, of creating a group of volunteers from the public by providing one day training on the issues of childhood immunization. After the one-day certification, the Vaccination Friend (VF)usually joins hands with MIF’s specialized outreach team to spread health education in villages.
Idea Behind Vaccination Friend:
Like other developing countries India has a huge deficit in immunizations and being able to reach those living in rural areas and/or in low-socio economic conditions. On a national level, vaccination rates for infants between 12-23 months are 61%. According to NHFS II (2007) less than 44% of infants actually get the full set of the required/recommended six vaccines.
Unlike in the developed countries, where there is a strong anti-vaccine lobby, India has a very low vaccination rate due to health disparities and the lack of vaccination education and knowledge. For example, a 2009 UNICEF survey found that 55% parents or guardians of infants with no or partial immunization stated “not knowing about vaccines” or “did not feel the need” as the reason. Thus local community health awareness programs through local people have the potential to increase the education, awareness, and administration of vaccines.
MIF’s idea of Vaccination Friend from local community will increase the changes of being accepted. In a rural setting, the chances of acceptance of an outsider are very nominal. In that scenario, a local trained professional can target the people from remote areas who are unaware about vaccines and have been rejecting due to lack of guidance.
A one-day training module followed by CME (continued Medical Education) or refresher course after every three months. After a successful participation in the training module and a written examination, the participant receives Vaccination Friend Certification. This certification is valid for one year. After one year that person will need to attend another session of training.
On 31st May 2012, MIF launched VF initiative. Sachin Kumar, a resident of Kunjpura village (Narnaul) participated in our one day VF training course. Mr. Kumar has been associating with MIF since Mrach, 2012 as a volunteer.
Mr. Kumar will help MIF’s outreach team to spread the reach of its childhood immunization advocacy campaign in his village Kunjpura.
MIF has a target to create one Vaccination Friend in each village adjutant to Narnaul and its surrounding areas in order to create childhood vaccination awareness. MIF will continue to recruit more Vaccination Friends.