Reducing the gender-related immunization gap in two districts of Mopti Region in Mali
The USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project works to improve health services quality and outcomes by strengthening the productivity and performance of the health workforce for a sustainable response. This includes providing assistance for district management to support quality immunization services, strengthening community-facility linkages, and integrating gender considerations to improve health service delivery as well as access and use of health services. ASSIST was asked to work in two districts of Mopti Region as a demonstration, in order to increase complete immunization for children under one year and especially increase acceptance of immunization for girls as recommended by the national immunization program plan.
The immunization improvement activities integrated gender from the beginning. The goals were to improve immunization rates for boys and girls, and to reach equal rates of immunization for both sexes. To ensure ownership and engagement of actors for this intervention, a regional pool of 18 trained improvement coaches and ASSIST staff have continuously supported quality improvement teams to implement all activities at district level.
ASSIST trained 54 providers and 52 immunization agents and conducted 15 integrated coaching visits and four learning sessions. These actors implemented supportive communication activities with social development and women’s welfare representatives. As a result, access to immunization improved for male and female infants < one year in the two districts. The gap between male and female infants was reduced from 23% in October 2016 to 9% in August 2017, and the percentage of both male and female infants completing all vaccinations increased from 41% to 83% for males and from 18% to 74% for females.