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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Working toward Universal Immunization: John Snow, Inc (JSI)

March 02, 2016

Vaccines are widely known to be one of the most impactful public health interventions of the modern era. Yet in many low-resource settings, we collectively face significant obstacles in the push toward universal vaccine coverage—health system inefficiencies, lack of accurate data, geographic barriers, and issues understanding local demand.

Enter John Snow, Inc (JSI), which for the past four years has worked to develop an innovative, sustainable model—Universal Immunization Through Improving Family Health Services (UI-FHS)—that empowers health workers and communities to solve problems locally to reach every child with vaccines. To date, the achievements of the JSI team and its Ethiopian government counterparts are the result of a collaborative effort—and they reflect the catalytic impact grantees like JSI can have on the health of hard-to-reach communities.

To learn more, visit the JSI website.

Led by Program Director, Dr. Zenaw Adam, UI-FHS has worked within the Government of Ethiopia’s internationally renowned Health Extension Program by teaching community health workers to more effectively diagnose problems in service delivery, determine priority areas for change, implement those changes, and then evaluate impact.

Though the effort began as a learning project in just three woredas (administrative districts), JSI is working to expand the project to more than 100 woredas in the most under-served areas of the country. The project has also introduced a new way of thinking among health workers, teaching analytical problem-solving and the value of data-driven decision-making. This approach has empowered local health workers to become active change agents in their health system, and as a result, more children are being reached each day by immunization services as uptake improves and dropouts decline.  

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