Effect of Supportive Supervision on Routine Immunization Service Delivery-A Randomized Post-Test Study in Odisha

  •  Meena Som    
  •  Bhuputra Panda    
  •  Sanghamitra Pati    
  •  Srinivas Nallala    
  •  Anita Anasuya    
  •  Abhimanyu Chauhan    
  •  Ashish Sen    
  •  Sanjay Zodpey    


Introduction: Routine immunization is a key child survival intervention. Issues related to quality of service delivery pose operational challenges in delivering effective immunization services. Accumulated evidences suggest that “supportive supervision” improves the quality of health care services. During 2009-10, Govt. of Odisha (GoO) and UNICEF jointly piloted this strategy in four districts to improve routine immunization. The present study aims to assess the effect of supportive supervision strategy on improvement of knowledge and practices on routine immunization among service providers.

Materials and Methods: We adopted a ‘post-test only’ study design to compare the knowledge and practices of frontline health workers and their supervisors in four intervention districts with that of two control districts. Altogether we interviewed 170 supervisors and supervisees (health workers), each, using semi-structured interview schedules. We also directly observed 25 ice lined refrigerator (ILR) points in both groups of districts. The findings were compared with the baseline information, available only for the intervention districts.

Results: The health workers in the intervention districts displayed a higher knowledge score in selected items than in the control group. No significant difference in knowledge was observed between control and intervention supervisors. The management practices at ILR points on key routine immunization components were found to have improved significantly in intervention districts.

Conclusion and Recommendations: The observed improvements in the ILR management practices indicate positive influence of supportive supervision. Higher level of domain knowledge among intervention health workers on specific items related to routine immunization could be due to successful transfer of knowledge from supervisors. A ‘pre-post’ study design should be undertaken to gain insights into the effectiveness of supportive supervision in improving routine immunization services.

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