Khader YS, Maalouf W, Khdair MA, Al-Nsour M, Aga E, Khalifa A, Kassasbeh M, El-Halabi S, Alfven T, El-Khatib Z
J Epidemiol Glob Health - (-) - [2022-01-03; online 2022-01-03]
Children vaccination is a key intervention for their survival, especially among refugees. Yet, children vaccination registration is done manually in refugees camps and there is no possibility to send reminders to parents to come back on time. We aimed to boost the parental registration of children's vaccination records on a Children Immunization app (CIMA) while also availing the parents with useful parenting skills under COVID-19-related stress. We incorporated United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Parenting Skills under COVID-19 information material, through CIMA in Arabic and English languages. We recruited 1100 children in February-March 2021, through a community health promotion dissemination approach. A team of two nurses from the local population and two volunteers (one trained nurse and one trained social worker), from the camp, was formed. They promoted the CIMA app at two clinics and through households visits in Zaatari refugee camp. Qualitative data on impressions and observations of the interactions with the Zaatari camp community were also collected. A total of 1100 children, up to 15 months of age, eligible for vaccination were enrolled in CIMA, whereby the staff explained the content of the app in terms of vaccination schedule, health promotion materials for vaccination and parenting skills to their caregivers. During the household visits, the volunteers identified a total of 70 children that have incomplete history of vaccination records (n = 42/70 girls, 60%). Also, opportunities and challenges for scaling the app were documented. The scaling of CIMA as an innovative means of dissemination of risk and health information in challenging context such as refugee camps was feasible. In the context of vaccination needs for children, in refugee settings, such a need is more eminent, particularly in the context of COVID-19.