The Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP), run by the Government of India, makes essential immunisation available for free to children between ages 0 to 5 years. The mother and child protection card that contains demographic and health information, as well as immunisation status of a child, is an important part of UIP. For every child immunised under this program, there exists a home-based physical record as well as a clinic side copy of the same. The language, content and design of the immunisation card vary from state to state.
Analysis of the immunisation cards from three states – Bihar, Gujarat and Maharashtra – as well as contextual enquiries conducted at a primary health care centre in Mumbai, revealed several issues faced by the stakeholders in the immunisation process. The three types of stakeholders were: healthcare service providers; parents and caregivers of the child; and surveyors and policy-makers who rely on the information on such cards for gathering data about the population.