WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health
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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 154-163

Policy opportunities and limitations of evidence-based planning for immunization: lessons learnt from a field trial in Bangladesh

1 School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia
2 United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Country Office, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Correspondence Address:
John Grundy
School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood 3125 Melbourne
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DOI: 10.4103/2224-3151.206253

PMID: 28607244

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Despite success in scaling up immunization, the national immunization programme in Bangladesh remains challenged by persisting inequities in health access related to geographic location and social factors, including income and education status. In order to tackle these inequities in access, the national immunization programme has conducted a field trial of the evidence-based planning model in Bangladesh between 2011 and 2013, in 11 low-performing districts and 3 city corporations. The main elements of this intervention included bottleneck analysis in local areas, action planning and budgeting to correct the bottlenecks, and establishment of a monitoring system to track progress. Coverage improved in 8 out of 14 districts post intervention. The main success factors associated with the intervention included more analytic approaches to situation assessment and taking action on health inequities at the local level, as well as more considered use of local data to track immunization drop-outs. The main factors associated with coverage declines in trial areas (6 districts) included poor financial resourcing and supervisory support, and gaps and turnover in human resources. In order to sustain and improve coverage, it will be necessary in future to link pro-equity approaches to subdistrict planning to higher-level health-system-strengthening strategy and planning systems. This will ensure that local area planners have the required resources, comprehensive operational plans and political support to sustain implementation of corrective actions to address identified system bottlenecks and inequities in health access at the local level.

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