Smartphone App, Incentives Could Improve Effectiveness Of Pakistan’s Polio Vaccination Campaign

The Conversation: Could a smartphone app help stop the next polio outbreak in Pakistan?
Michael Callen, assistant professor of public policy at Harvard University

“…The reason Pakistan was having so much trouble [eliminating polio through vaccination efforts] didn’t come down to having enough doses of the vaccines or health workers to administer them — the country did. A key problem was that information about who was getting vaccinated wasn’t getting collected, and that the incentives health workers got didn’t actually motivate them to perform more vaccinations. … In a pilot project funded by the U.K. Department for International Development, our group has been working with Lahore’s municipal government to develop a tool to help track information better and to find out what incentives provide the best motivation for health workers. … These tools are simple — just smartphones and apps — and could be used in any developing country to collect better data and target workers’ efforts more effectively” (11/12).