Interculturally Competent Analysis of the Uptake of Routine Vaccination (2015-2016)

In recent years, many public health initiatives promoting vaccination uptake in infants have begun to leverage the growing mobile-cellular subscription base in developing countries – either by sending reminders on upcoming vaccinations to caregivers using inexpensive voice or text messaging services, or via provision of smart digital data collection and management systems on phones that enable frontline community health workers keep track of vaccination histories and coverage indicators. However, gender gaps in mobile phone ownership and use still remain a barrier to the effectiveness of these mobile health (or “mHealth”) services in improving vaccination uptake at the household level. While mothers are typically the primary recipients of mHealth reminder services for their infants and also the ones most likely to bring the infants to the vaccination clinics, they are most often not the primary owners or users of mobile devices in their household.

This Bass Connections team is conducting an interculturally competent comparative analysis of the uptake of routine childhood vaccination services in two rural settings: Kumasi, Ghana (low vaccination rates), and Roatan, Honduras (high vaccination rates). Given cultural perceptions and differences, it becomes crucial that healthcare professionals and global health researchers are competent in working across cultures – not just in terms of their training, but also in terms of communication skills.

This project has three aims: (1) understanding knowledge, attitudes and practices affecting vaccination uptake; (2) analyzing gender differences in mobile phone ownership and use within households; and (3) assessment of intercultural competence of team members engaged in research. Student team members received training in hypothesis testing, research design, survey data collection, quantitative analysis and intercultural competence through didactic and experiential learning opportunities. In Summer 2016 two groups of team members traveled to Ghana and Honduras for field research. The team will distill lessons learned and key barriers to the uptake of vaccinations as well as gender-based and sociocultural constructs in household mobile technology ownership and use. Outcomes may include abstracts submitted to global health/mHealth conferences, manuscript(s) submitted to peer-reviewed journals and preliminary data for inclusion into future grant proposals.


August 2015 – December 2016


Back to Africa: My Second First Impression Living in the Original Home of Homo Sapiens (John Lu)

This Team in the News

Two Duke Students, One Graduate Named Marshall Scholars (John Lu)

Meet the Members of the 2017-18 Student Advisory Council

Six Students Receive Grants to Extend Their Bass Connections Research

Kristen Larson, Biology and Global Health ’17


Faculty/Staff Team Members

Dennis Clements, School of Medicine-Pediatrics: Infectious Diseases*
Darla Deardorff, Center for International and Global Studies-Center for International Studies*
Lavanya Vasudevan, Duke Global Health Institute*

Graduate Team Members

Adeola Awodele, Medicine-MD
Hannah Cunningham, Biomedical Sciences

Undergraduate Team Members

Kristen Larson, Biology (BS), Global Health (AB2)
John Lu, Chemistry (BS), Mathematics (BS2)

* denotes team leader


Completed, Archived