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Using board games to increase community and caregiver knowledge, attitudes, and intentions to access immunization

A fun filled method that will encourage behavioral changes and attitudes about uptake of immunization in congregational settings

Photo of Piringar Niyang
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Describe what you intend to do and how you'll do it in one sentence (required 250 Characters)

Savannah Health Innovation Systems aims to use a health education board game to empower caregivers to access immunization in congregational settings in Plateau which enables them to identify the correct vaccination schedules as it applies to them

Explain the idea (less than 2,000 characters)

In rural communities, women are likely to give birth at home or in other traditional settings missing out on vaccination or declining it when offered at home during door to door campaigns due to misconceptions and poor knowledge of benefits of immunization. Congregational setting such as churches are places where people to go to for all births and other major life events and so can serve as effective platform for teaching, monitoring and tracking behavioral changes. We will focus on a rural area in Plateau state that are predominantly Christians as end users. Mangu Local Government Area has an estimated population of 393,700 people with 30% being females greater than 18years; and 36 towns and villages with a minimum of 2 - 3 churches. These women are predominantly farmers with some basic education among 60% of them. Over a 6-month period, we estimate that all women attending church will have been reached. We have customized the popular “Snake and Ladders” game in Nigeria which is based on the concept of reward for good behaviors (marking the correcting vaccination by age) by moving up a ladder and punishment for risky health behaviors by being bitten by the Snake (missing or not knowing the correct vaccination by age). We have included some health education messages presented in pictorial form to show what diseases can occur and how it affects the child. The game is expected to be administered in a group with guidance from a facilitator who will provide the score for each level (required vaccination). Players are self-guided by the health messages on each square of the board. The player who gets to the top of the Ladder would have “won” and would signify complete vaccination by the child or full knowledge of immunization by the caregiver. Registration of all caregivers will be done using a mobile application linked to unique identifiers while reward systems will also be in place for compliant caregivers inform of free call and SMS credits as additional incentives

Which part(s) of the world does this idea target?

  • Western Africa

Geographic Focus (less than 250 Characters)

Rural communities in Mangu local Government Area (district) of Plateau state Nigeria

Who are your end users and how well do you know them? (750 characters)

Staff of SHISL are indigenes of these rural communities and participate in some native development group meetings that continuously aim to find ways of improving the health and livelihood of those still living in the rural areas through interventions that are more appropriate for rural settings. The strengthen of this project are (1) the use of congregational setting and the influence that they have on majority of Nigerians. The congregations exist and are well defined with memberships that can be easily reached; and (2) the use of games to deliver the content as most Nigerians with access to a phone routinely play and are addicted to gamifications e.g. “candy crush” regardless of age that will be leveraged for this intervention

How is the idea unique? (750 Characters)

Most immunization campaigns have been delivered through media that may not necessarily put the caregiver in a relaxed and fun-filled mode. Delivering the same information via boardgames increases user engagement and learning about immunization with improved understanding. We have delivered similar model for engaging non-literate nomads in TB care and will leverage this to deliver on the project with minimal delays as drafts of the games boards already exist. No organization has deployed such intervention in this setting in with the closest being use of boardgames among school children for Neglected Tropical Disease. It can exist on its own or be printed on the back of the Immunization cards for caregivers to fill it at targeted periods

Idea Proposal Stage (Select 1)

  • Pilot: We have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users. The feasibility of an innovation is tested in a small-scale and real world application (i.e. 3-15% of the target population)

How many months are required for the project idea? (140 characters)

It will take us 24 weeks to implement and achieve demontartable results

Organization Name (less than 140 characters)

Savannah Health Innovation Systems Limited (SHISL)

Type of Submitter

  • We are a Private Sector Corporation

Organizational Characteristics

  • Female-led organization
  • Women’s health/rights focused
  • Indigenous-led organization
  • Youth-led organization
  • Locally/community-led organization

Organization Location (less than 140 Characters)

Savannah Health Innovation Systems is at Suite 213, The Ruby Centre, Plot 762 Aminu Kano Crescent, Wuse II Abuja Nigeria.

What is the current scale of your organization’s work?

  • National (expansive reach within one country)

Website URL

Tell us more about your organization/company (1-2 sentences)

Savannah Health Innovation Systems Limited is a creative systems product development company focused on delivering creative and bespoke services to its client as exemplified by use of platforms to improve public health programs in Nigeria. The project is founded on our locally responsive and collaborative approach to providing solutions; and commitment to integrating end users into all stages of the product development and utilization cycle.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (750 characters)

SHISL will collaborate with healthcare providers at primary healthcare centers and church leaders in this community. The engagement process will involve stakeholder meetings and briefing at the district level to secure leadership buy-in, approval and community awareness/sensitization. To reduce resistance in the churches, the local healthcare providers will also be present and will facilitate their engagements and trainings. This activity will be facilitated and linked to the existing state ministry of health immunization structures

How many people are on your team?


Tell us more about you and your team

SHISL prioritizes provision of tailored solutions that improve system development, tackle problems and improve efficiency. The team’s diversity and experience working in public health field in Nigeria through the community groups makes the team a perfect fit. SHISL will work with these entities to facilitate engagements, requirement gathering and project implementation. SHISL has Public Health Specialists Mercy Niyang’s public health simple sustainable strategies using various quality improvement experiences, Olatayo Olawepo’s experience in Polio eradication programs and measles campaigns, Joy Musa’s experience in disease surveillance and outbreak response, Ramat Ibrahim’s strength in use of simple IT solutions for routine training in rural settings. They will participate in mapping, training, data analysis and use. The Health Informatics team of Charles Ogbonna, Chinedu Aniekwe and Sonia Ogbeh will support graphic design of the game, setup the toll-free system and mapping dashboards.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Piringar Niyang thank you for sharing I really like the play component of your idea as it's been shown that play can be very powerful when it comes to education and behavior changes. I also like that you tapping on 2 important elements: 1. a game routine (e.g. candy crush); 2. the congregational setting.
It's great that you've already done some pilots. I'd love to know what you learnt from them. I am also curious to know more about who brings the games and how they are introduced in the communities.
You might want to check a few ideas that are connected to yours in some ways.
For the congregational aspect: Faithcination and Faith and Immunization: How the Local Church can Shape and Influence Vaccine Demand 
For other ways to get caregivers to play the game and also as a potential tool for educating health community volunteers Women Ambassadors for Vaccine Education (WAVE) and Enhance Community Capacity to access immunization services in Busia District 
and for the playful aspect: PIC - Photos in Immunization Clinic 
Looking forward to seeing your idea evolve.

Photo of Piringar Niyang

Anne-Laure Fayard Thank you for the comments and for highlighting other ideas that are connected. The board games will be in the custody of the cleric who will be administering them to the women (and men)