Ensuring Newborns Delivered at Home Receive the Vaccinations They Need
Routine immunizations help protect individuals and communities, so it is important to follow published vaccination schedules that often begin soon after birth. When newborns are delivered in health facilities, vaccinations can easily be given, but when children are delivered at home, newborns can miss out on these life-saving treatments.
Sindano Hija Aficheni is a community health volunteer (CHV) in Zanzibar’s national community health program, called Jamii ni Afya.
As a CHV, one of Sindano’s responsibilities is to counsel pregnant women about the importance of giving birth in a health facility and ensuring that newborns receive vaccinations on schedule.
Despite planning to deliver at a health facility, Zainabu was unable to find transportation when she needed to, but having a dedicated CHV helped make sure her newborn got the care they needed. (Photo: Moh'd Abdalla Rashid/D-tree)
During one of Sindano’s recent visits, she met Zainabu, a pregnant woman who was close to her delivery date. Using guidance from the Jamii ni Afya CHV mobile app, she completed her visit as normal and shared her cell phone number with Zainabu so she could contact Sindano with any questions.
When Sindano followed-up, she learned that Zainabu had already given birth, and that she had given birth at home because they could not find transportation to a health facility in time. Now, they were worried that the newborn was too weak to receive vaccinations.
Hearing their concerns and learning that the pregnant woman had delivered at home, Sindano advised that they visit a health center as soon as possible, and she used the CHV mobile app to refer them to receive professional care and to get the newborn started with vaccinations.
She promised to return soon to follow-up, and when Sindano returned three days later, she was happy to hear that they had visited the hospital and received the vaccine.
The family had been worried about their newborn’s health after being delivered at home, but were grateful to have a dedicated CHV who visited them regularly and advised them to seek care at the hospital.
Now, the baby is doing better and the family calls Sindano frequently to ask for advice and guidance.