Epidemiological data can provide you with a quick sense of population immunity through routine immunization and the polio programme, the sensitivity of the surveillance system, and the quality of the immunization coverage. If campaigns have been taking place regularly in your country, analysis of this information over time can help identify the magnitude and the reasons for missed children during campaigns.
While there are many sources of epidemiological data in the polio programme, Independent Monitoring is a universal methodology that is used to provide a proxy measure of program performance. The tool and the methodology is universal across the programme, thus Independent Monitoring merits a detailed overview.
Independent Monitoring is end-process monitoring of SIA activities conducted after campaigns in endemic, outbreak or high-risk countries, deliberately focused on geographical areas and populations of the greatest concern. Independent monitors visit houses and busy streets and markets or special sites to check on the vaccination status of children, based on finger marking.
Independent Monitoring data (IM) can help:
- Verify if the programme is covering enough High-Risk Areas (which IM contributes to determining)
- Define cut-off values to determine if districts are well (e.g.: <5% missed children), moderately (e.g.: 5-10% missed children), or poorly covered (e.g.: >10% missed children)
- Build trends to see results over time: identify if some areas are chronically facing the same issues, see the impact of corrective actions, detect emerging problems early on
- Estimate the actual magnitude of the problem by using the actual number and reasons for missed children
- Conduct disaggregated analysis and identify clusters at a sub-national level, as province-level data may hide major problems at lower levels
- Cross-check with other sources of data, including administrative data, LQAS, programme reports to verify consistency, and ask to verify possible outliers
- Assess the effectiveness of communication programme inputs through analysis of programme inputs vis-à-vis observed communication outputs, such as a source of information. In other words, IM data can help to identify whether engaged communication channels yield intended programme outputs.
Explore the other two learning modules in this 3-step tutorial to design evidence-driven communication strategies to help vaccinate every child.