Thursday, 26 November 2015

A simple text message can do a lot of difference!

Vaccines are responsible for millions of lives being saved each year. They are responsible for eradication of smallpox, a 74% reduction in childhood deaths from measles over the past decade, and the near eradication of Polio.

Despite these great achievement, there remains an urgent need to reach all children with life-saving vaccines. One in every five children worldwide are not fully protected with the most basic vaccines. As a result, an estimated 1.5M children lose their life to vaccine preventable diseases – one every 20 seconds. One of the biggest operational problem is that even if there is a vaccination drive going in the vicinity, people are largely unaware about it especially in the low economic settings.

According to a research by Columbia University, sending text messages to mobile phones can help increase immunisation rates and reduce the spread of vaccine-preventable infections.

According to Dr. Melissa Stockwell, Associate Professor of Paediatrics and Population Family Health at Columbia University, text reminders can be more effective than traditional communication methods.

According to Stockwell, parents feel that it shows the healthcare providers care for them, even when they are not right in front of them. Traditional form of communication like phone and postcards often don’t work in low income, adolescent and rural population. Sending a text message which has an upper limit of 160 characters is not always easy. Text messages are usually no more than 160 characters long, yet it is essential that texts from doctors’ practices get the tone right; that speak a language that is well understood without being too informal.

According to Dr. Stockwell, the character limit actually ends up being helpful because it forces one to be brief, thus ending up using language that is understandable to the patients and their families.

As evidence continues to build behind the value of sending text reminders, she expects more healthcare professionals to embrace the technology.

Source: VaccinesToday

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Hilleman Laboratories is a global vaccine research & development organization focused on making affordable vaccines using innovation to address gaps that exist in low resource settings. Hilleman Labs acts as a catalyst in bridging the gap between academic research and product development by targeting novel vaccines and increasing the efficiency of existing vaccines. Know More

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