To counter these traditional biases, we turned to another Afghan tradition. A bracelet that is tied on infants to ward off evil forces, now also protects them from diseases.
The immunity charm comprises colored beads, with each bead being code for a specific vaccine. On every vaccine, doctors add the corresponding bead to the bracelet.
The immunity charm has helped doctors create real enthusiasm in Afghanistan about maintaining immunization history. Seeing the success of the pilot program the Government will now be extending it to other provinces as well.
The Immunity Charm is the immunization history of a child, worn by the child. It creates a direct relationship between infants' doctors and the parents. Borrowing from an Afghan tradition itself, we modified the evil eye charm, commonly found on an infant's wrist, as our medium to spread the message of immunization amongst various Afghan communities. The charm is not merely for the purpose record keeping of vaccines but also reminds parents to follow up on their child's immunization.
Strong traditional biases and wide spread illiteracy were the main hurdles. The Immunity Charm takes care of both as it is rooted in tradition and requires no reading or writing on the part of the parents.