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Negative social media messages on vaccines: How can the resultant trust deficit between caregivers and health workers be overcome?

A qualitative enquiry in Malappuram district of Kerala state in India

Global Institute of Public Health is undertaking a research on Vaccination in Malappuram district of Kerala, funded by Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, Geneva. Indian state of Kerala known for its ‘health at low cost’ model has been seeing dip in immunization rates, especially in certain pockets and communities in Malappuram district with spoil over effects in neighbouring and far off districts as well, largely attributed to increasing influence of naturopaths, homeopaths and religious heads through intense campaign against vaccines. The existing Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials are unable to handle the situation and health workers are finding difficulty to effectively counter the anti-vaccine propaganda. The overall goal of the study is to understand how can the vaccine related trust deficit between caregivers and health workers associated with the negative social media campaigns be overcome in the district of Malappuram.



Principal Investigator: Dr.Anoop TN, Medical officer in charge, Primary Health Centre, Chaliyar

Co-Investigators:
Prof.KesavanRajasekharanNayar, Professor and Head, Global Institute of Public Health
Dr. Muhammed Shaffi, Assistant professor, Global Institute of Public Health
Dr. Kamala Swarnam, Chief Consultant paediatrician, Ananthapuri Hospitals
Dr. Anant Kumar, Adjunct Faculty, Gillings School of Global Public Health
Ms. Minu Abraham, Lecturer, Global Institute of Public Health

Duration of Research Project: One Years

Objectives
1. How negative social media messages on vaccines influence the relationship and trust between caregivers and health workers
2. How does the caregivers trust deficit on health workers influence their decisions with relation to childhood vaccination
3. Are the current communication methods (e.g. IEC materials, websites etc.) able to address the emerging anti-vaccine social media campaigns
4. What modifications in the current communication and social media activities may improve the trust between caregivers and health workers to improve vaccination coverage.