Implementation Fidelity and Acceptability of an Intervention to Improve Vaccination Uptake and Child Health in Rural India: A Mixed Methods Evaluation of a Pilot Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial
Background: The Tika Vaani intervention, an initiative to improve basic health knowledge and empower beneficiaries to improve vaccination uptake and child health for underserved rural populations in India, was assessed in a pilot cluster randomized trial. The intervention was delivered through two strategies: mHealth (using mobile phones to send vaccination reminders and audio-based messages) and community mobilization (face-to-face meetings) in rural Indian villages from January to September 2018. We assessed acceptability and implementation fidelity to determine whether the intervention delivered in the pilot trial can be implemented at a larger scale.
Methods: We adapted the Conceptual Framework for implementation fidelity to assess acceptability and fidelity of the pilot interventions using a mixed methods design. Quantitative data sources include a structured checklist, household surveys, and mobile phone call patterns. Qualitative data came from field observations, intervention records, semistructured interviews and focus groups with project recipients and implementers. Quantitative analyses assessed whether activities were implemented as planned, using descriptive statistics to describe participant characteristics and the percentage distribution of activities. Qualitative data were analyzed using content analysis and in the light of the implementation fidelity model to explore moderating factors and to determine how well the intervention was received.
Results: Findings demonstrated high (86.7%) implementation fidelity. A total of 94% of the target population benefited from the intervention by participating in a face-to-face group meeting or via mobile phone. The participants felt that the strategies were useful means for obtaining information. The clarity of the intervention theory, the motivation, and commitment of the implementers as well as the periodic meetings of the supervisors largely explain the high level of fidelity obtained. Geographic distance, access to a mobile phone, level of education, and gender norms are contextual factors that contributed to heterogeneity in participation.
Conclusions: Although the intervention was evaluated in the context of a randomized trial that could explain the high level of fidelity obtained, this evaluation provides confirmatory evidence that the results of the study reflect the underlying theory. The mobile platform coupled with community mobilization was well-received by the participants and could be a useful way to improve health knowledge and change behavior.