The RED strategy
‘Reaching Every District’ (RED) is the name given to a strategy of district capacity building to address common obstacles to increasing immunization coverage, with a focus on planning and monitoring. The first steps in developing the RED strategy were taken in July 2002 at a meeting of immunization partners, who identified common obstacles and ways to improve access to immunization, in order to achieve the global immunization goal 80% coverage in all districts, and 90% nationally by 2010.
Description of the five RED operational components
1. Re-establishing outreach services
In many countries a large proportion of the population can only be reached regularly though outreach sessions. Outreach is any delivery strategy that requires health facility staff to leave their facility to deliver immunization. Ideally a minimum of four contacts per year are required to fully immunize an infant. For some communities, access can only be provided irregularly, and may require mobile teams to provide outreach, which will involve resources beyond the health facility and district level. Outreach sessions, especially mobile teams present opportunities to provide other interventions with immunization.
2. Supportive supervision
Supportive supervision implies providing on site training to health workers at the time of a supervisory visit, or at regular district meetings. To be supportive, supervisors should make regular schedules for visits, help to solve problems locally and follow up regularly with supply and resource issues. Supervisors will themselves need training to adapt their own approaches to supervision.
3. Linking services with communities
Involving the community with the planning and delivery of the service will encourage community ownership and improve attendance. Identifying community volunteers providing them with a role, such as follow up of defaulters, and holding regular meetings is an important step towards building a link with the community.
4. Monitoring and use of data for action
Monitoring and use of data for action implies not only the timely collection of data at district level, but the use of the data to solve problems. Some simple tools, including wall charts that display access and utilization need little training, but are very useful to take action according to monthly progress. Not only do districts collect coverage data, but also a large amount of other information, including logistics, supply, surveillance, all of which should be used to improve the immunization system. Some qualitative data may not be available in regular reports and may need to collected though supervisory visits.
5. Planning and management of resources
The district micro plan is the key to the RED strategy. The micro plan should be based upon a local situation analysis which involves every health facility and through them the community that they serve. At the national level, there is a responsibility to ensure the needed financial and human resources are available to the district, while the district must ensure the resources are efficiently used, through regular monitoring and adjusting the micro plan. Continuing to fund the RED strategy for more than the first year of implementation is vital for sustainability of coverage increase.
RED INFORMATION SHEET
Information sheet - English
- Letter published in WHO health bulletin outlining the RED strategy and progress update
- RED Strategic Implementation in the Africa Region - 2007
RED Strategic Implementation in the Africa Region - June 2005
RED planning elements poster
Produced by WHO and UNICEF, the 'Reaching Every District' (RED) microplanning guide is a useful set of tools for health workers dealing with immunization. Research has shown that the RED strategy results in significantly more children being immunized, and this guide aims to enable many more health workers to employ the approach.
AFRO RED GUIDE
This practical guide provides details on each of the five RED components and also contains templates for planning resources at district level.
IMMUNIZATION IN PRACTICE
Chapters 5 (Planning immunization sessions to reach every infant) and chapter 7 (monitoring and using your data)