Harnessing the power of Facebook to generate demand for vaccinations in Myanmar
The Socialize to Immunize project aims to increase vaccination demand for children under 2 years old in Kachin State, Myanmar.
“Facebook is the internet” is an often-used phrase in Myanmar, with 85% of all internet traffic going through Facebook, and nearly 75% of the population using it to get their news.
The project will build upon this widely used social media platform to create a space where people can share experiences, discuss vaccination and encourage each other to vaccinate their children.
The Socialize to Immunize project is piloting a new and innovative approach to encourage vaccination demand in rural regions of Myanmar.
Research activities will monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the approach with the data being used to understand the influence of social networks on decisions about child immunizations, measuring whether it helps to improve demand among caregivers.
This project is using a community-based social network approach which is based on the premise that demand for vaccines is strongly influenced by peer groups. It will involve and connect different stakeholders in the vaccination-demand process: caregivers, household decision-makers, community immunization champions, community members and health care providers.
We will create, pilot and monitor a Facebook ecosystem that will;
- Collect people’s needs regarding vaccination demand in rural communities
- Identify people’s attitude towards vaccination & reasons for not seeking vaccination
- Provide real-time practical information on schedules and locations of difference vaccines to household decision-makers, community influencers and caregivers
- Provide timely vaccination reminders to caregivers and/or household members
- Promote vaccine acceptance using social interactions and peer to peer opportunities provided by Facebook and in person activities
- Provide interactive content that will encourage behaviour change and embed social norms
Religious and community leaders were identified as important influencers in vaccination behaviour change of caregivers and the wider community. During the project their involvement in vaccinations has remarkably increased. Compared to the start of the project, 45% more people in communities were reporting that that religious leaders were sharing a message about vaccination. Among them, 69% were actively encourage people to get vaccinations where they had not done previously.
There was evidence that people’s attitudes had towards vaccination had improved with an increase of 20% of people reacting ‘not good’ when someone had not received vaccinations.
12% more caregivers are reporting to be influenced by their peer groups on their decision to vaccinate their children which reflects a positive shift towards vaccinations as a social norm.
The project used an automated Chatbot to educate caregivers with different features on specific vaccine knowledge. These include schedules, maternal and child health, completed vaccine recording and automated reminders for immunization days. This can help to create a social bandwagon effect of immunization as a normal thing to do among caregivers by sharing their immunization records on Facebook. Currently, there are 171 people using the Chatbot. It was used a total of 5,316 times which is on average 31 times per user.
The project used a campaign called “Happy Baby” to educate the community on vaccine knowledge and to address caregivers’ common concerns. This used short films, games, quizzes, catchy songs, cartoons, and a local documentary. In 28 days of the campaign the page reached 11,530 users.
Caregivers’ overall satisfaction on vaccination experience was significantly increased from 63% at the beginning of the project to 87% in September 2020. Caregivers reported to be either satisfied or very satisfied with the health care services, including date of appointment, waiting time, vaccination service and infrastructure. The reasons they gave were convenience, good level of care, less waiting time and early reminder of vaccination date.