Published: 20th December 2019
Vaccine on wheels: IIT Hyderabad launches India’s first mobile vaccination clinic in Pune
The clinic is the brainchild of Jignesh Patel, IIT Hyderabad fellow, and has been set up together with the Gates Foundation. It aims to create awareness on immunisation and provide low-cost vaccines
A vaccine on wheels clinic, a first-of-its-kind service in India, which completely changes the way vaccines are administered in developing countries, was recently launched in Pune city's PCMC area by Jignesh Patel, who is a fellow at the Center for Healthcare Entrepreneurship (CfHe) at IIT Hyderabad.
Called ‘VaccineOnWheels.com’ as they have adopted VOW (Vaccination On Wheels) concept, this clinic will go to schools, colleges and corporates to conduct vaccination camps at their doorsteps. It will offer only vaccination services. “This unique, unconventional, creative, low-cost and high on convenience model has been designed with the idea of ‘reaching the bottom of the pyramid’,” said Jignesh Patel, who worked as a business executive before joining CfHe. The Foundation for Centre for Healthcare Entrepreneurship (CfHE) at IIT-Hyderabad had won the Grand Challenges Explorations Grant, promoted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation earlier this year, which in turn enabled Jignesh to develop the project.
The vaccination service will be promoted by Jignesh's healthcare company, Jivika Healthcare. There are many features which makes it a unique vaccination service, including providing low-cost vaccination service to the low-income group of the population, creating awareness for government’s immunisation programme and selling only those vaccines which are not provided through the government agencies and compliance with cold chain maintenance as per WHO guidelines with state-of-the-art equipment.
A child being administered a vaccine by Jivika Healthcare workers
“We have taken this mission to support government and society in getting children fully immunized as per World Health Organisation (WHO) and Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) standards for children who are taking vaccination from government centres. With this mission in mind, our social workers and nurses conduct awareness camps in various community areas where the government conducts immunization camps. Through the awareness drive, we educate mothers to get their children vaccinated,” added Jignesh, who was able to better understand the gaps in vaccine delivery model from close quarters and identify various issues faced by diverse stakeholders primarily from infants/caregivers/parents in getting vaccinated, because of the one-year fellowship at CfHe.
Congratulating CfHE Graduate Jignesh Patel on launching this service, Professor Renu John, Co-Head, CfHE, and Head, Department of Biomedical Engineering, IIT Hyderabad, said, “This is a unique programme that works hand-in-hand with the government to cover the last mile in delivering vaccines to people of all strata of the society.”
On the day of the inauguration (December 15), Jivika’s healthcare team successfully administered 27 vaccinations to the children from low-income group families. Awareness camps are being conducted in community areas through this Vaccine Clinic with the help of animated videos designed in Marathi and Hindi languages. With these videos and group discussions, the clinic motivates mothers to avail free vaccines from the government.
Jivika Healthcare social workers are also committed to explaining how vaccines can save lives of children and help save money by avoiding hospitalisation. Every week between Monday and Saturday, the social workers create awareness and invite interested families to visit the clinic for the vaccination drive.