Betting on Better Data
Dr. Orin Levine, the director of vaccine delivery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, explains how a new kind of low-tech innovation is promising to help health workers, stretch donor dollars and save lives — simply with better data. While there are now more life-saving vaccines available than ever before, getting them to distant communities remains a challenge. Across Africa, for example, vaccination rates hover at about 77 percent. Better data can help health workers reach unvaccinated children or those who miss scheduled immunizations.
"Too often, the story of vaccine supplies and patient visits is hidden in dusty registers, the result of notes scribbled in pencil (often in triplicate) by an overburdened health worker. This is an inefficient way of doing business and takes valuable time away from patient care. It also renders meaningful data analysis next to impossible. Without reliable, easily accessible and actionable information on the barriers to immunization, decision makers don't have the full picture. Better data is required to understand which problems matter most, and where.
The BID Initiative could change everything. With pilot programs now underway in Tanzania and Zambia, BID is empowering health workers and country decision makers by pinpointing inefficiencies and identifying the best ways to solve them."