Mobile Phones Increase Immunization Rates: Evidence from the DHS

Alessia Melegaro , Bocconi University
Nicoletta Balbo, Bocconi University
Valentina Rotondi, University of Oxford
Veronica Toffolutti, Bocconi University
Francesco Billari, Bocconi University

Immunization is an efficient and cost-effective intervention for improving child survival. Despite of that, more than 30 million children are unimmunized. In developing countries, the low vaccination rates are mainly due to the demand-side barrier, such as lack of knowledge, forgetfulness and prohibitive transport. The potential impact of mobile phone access on immunization rates is here explored using data from the latest available DHS from 14 Low Middle Income Countries (LMICs) in Africa and Asia. Preliminary results show that children of phone-owing mothers are more likely to be vaccinated vis-à-vis their phone-less counterparts. This study therefore may provide strong empirical support that boosting mobile-phone access and coverage might be a vehicle through which increase immunization in LMICs.

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 Presented in Session 83. Health and Wellbeing in a Digital World