Sustaining Vaccination Coverage
Continued national commitment to primary health care with a strong focus on community engagement: A case study from Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s health system has produced strong health outcomes, including through sustaining high vaccination coverage nationwide. The use of public health midwives, through the community based Medical Officer of Health (MOH) system, brings health and health education to people’s front door. This has enabled 99.1% of children to receive their vaccinations in a timely, people-centred manner, with high-quality standards.
The engagement of families and communities goes beyond informing and educating the community. Health workers draw upon existing community assets to ensure that beneficiaries are active participants in public programmes. As such, there is both positive health seeking behaviour embedded in the population, with good health literacy for timely age-appropriate immunizations, in addition to strong public demand for high-quality, safely delivered vaccines.
Accompanying this progress, the nation has reduced its incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases. Sri Lanka has now been declared free from maternal and neonatal tetanus and poliomyelitis. The last case of virologically confirmed polio was in 1993, while Japanese encephalitis and congenital syphilis have been nearly eliminated.
The report provides context on Sri Lanka's healthcare landscape and its successful immunization programme, presents the key successes and actions to be taken in maintaining coverage and then concludes with future challenges and lessons learnt.
Scroll down to find a short video detailing lessons learnt from sustaining vaccination coverage in Sri Lanka.