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South-East Asia Region certified polio-free

WHO's South-East Asia Region, home to a quarter of the world’s population, was certified polio-free on March 27 2014. 80% of the world’s population now lives in certified polio-free regions.

Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard across this region, to those who fought the longest battle in India and especially to those who continue to ensure children are immunised and their polio-free status is maintained.

Photo from WHO media release on the 7th Meeting of the South-East Asia Regional Certification Commission for Polio Eradication 27 March 2014...

Featured

This reference document on vaccine introduction is intended as support for decisionmaking on how to add new vaccines to country immunisation programmes. Based on the 2005 WHO [World Health Organization] Vaccine Introduction Guidelines, it draws on country experiences in vaccine introduction and the recommendations from guidelines, tools, and...

For the monitoring of coverage in supplementary immunisation activities (SIAs) carried out as part of the effort to eradicate polio in Pakistan (and, thus, globally), "automated systems based on short message service (SMS) texts appear to be an attractive and relatively inexpensive option." This is the conclusion of research conducted by Aga...

"Interpreting resistance to vaccination as essentially religio-cultural marginalises an understanding of resistance as the rational and strategic response by households and communities to systematic conditions of inequity and exclusion."

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Research and Strategy

"Developing the plan has brought together multiple stakeholders involved in immunization, including governments and elected officials, health professionals, academia, manufacturers, global agencies, development partners, civil society, media and the private sector, to define collectively what the immunization community wants to achieve over...

"...[D]espite huge investments in communication, refusals and unawareness of vaccine availability or importance still dominate as reasons for failing to immunise children who develop poliomyelitis."

This video from Polio Free India is a slideshow depicting the opening of the "Drops of Dialogue" polio gallery at District Hospital, Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh (UP), India created by CORE Group. As can be seen here, the event had the theme: for the children by the children: 1995 to 2014 (as symbolised by children taking part in the event). A...

For the monitoring of coverage in supplementary immunisation activities (SIAs) carried out as part of the effort to eradicate polio in Pakistan (and, thus, globally), "automated systems based on short message service (SMS) texts appear to be an attractive and relatively inexpensive option." This is the conclusion of research conducted by Aga...

"Applying the resolve and dedication that characterizes polio eradication to a wider suite of services could provide communities with the services they are demanding, give workers a fresh reason for enthusiasm, and increase baseline RI coverage. The eradication of polio would probably not be far behind."

"Interpreting resistance to vaccination as essentially religio-cultural marginalises an understanding of resistance as the rational and strategic response by households and communities to systematic conditions of inequity and exclusion."

"Lessons learned from our recent experience may inform risk communication approaches in other countries that may face a similar situation as global polio eradication moves towards the 'End game'."

"Effective Communication is certainly the only most powerful 'vaccine' that prevents communities from various dreaded diseases, including Polio..."

"[I]n India, evidence-based communication strategies - including through interpersonal communication and through social channels - made a marked difference in delivering effective health communication for the polio eradication programme."

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Experiences

"[Y]outh's productive engagement in the polio/RI programme will provide it with a source of continued dynamism and productive energy. This is especially so as the Polio Eradication programme is transcending into a crucial phase, as for over three years no wild polio transmission is reported in the country (India), whereas the associated '...

"Public radio show games conducted in local languages for the communities by the communities is the approach likely to promote lasting change and to support communication activities in immunization and polio eradication. Such programmes increase participation, community ownership..." - Bruno Maes, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)...

"On the morning of 8 November, scores of Syrian refugee children at the Omariya informal settlement in east Lebanon held a joyful demonstration amongst the tents in their camp. Accompanied by social worker from the Lebanese NGO [non-governmental organisation] Beyond, they held colourful placards with the word 'polio' in Arabic crossed out,...

The NSEWA Project (which is a contraction of North-South-East-West Africa) is working to close the gap between health services and road safety through specially designed driver safety training and health-related programmes directed at the Road Freight Industry. Led by North Star Alliance and Fleet Forum, the NSEWA training and certificate...

The Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication and their partners in Namibia, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are working to intensify cross border social and behaviour change communication (SBCC) interventions with a particular focus on high risk groups such as sexworkers, truckers, and migrant populations. The project involves...

Media's pH (Public Health) Value

This initiative, launched in India by Newslaundry in partnership with Who’s There? Yes (WTY), a global journalism and health mentoring initiative of Chitra Subramaniam Duella and Franklin Apfel, is intended to inspire public debate in India on health issues starting with tobacco control. It was timed for debate during the lead up to the Delhi...

"If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million."

HealthPhone™ is a resource using the medium of video transmitted through mobile phones that is designed to improve the health of economically poor and vulnerable populations around the world. "A mobile phone, with basic health information embedded on the...

Every year on October 24, people around the world organise activities to shine a spotlight on the importance of global polio eradication. World Polio Day, which in 2013 has an intensified social media presence, is a Rotarian initiative to help create awareness of polio and garner support for eradication efforts.

Freedom Polio is a mobile health (m-health) solution designed for effective community-level health management in India. The project was designed and developed by ZMQ Development (ZMQ), an information and communication technology for development (ICT4D) social enterprise, in partnership with CORE Group Polio Project (CGPP), which works in...

"Hands are waving excitedly as students gather at Al Meraj School in one of the poorest areas of Pakistan's second largest city, Lahore. 'What is polio?' asks the teacher. 'And who should be given the polio vaccine?' 'It's a virus," says one young student. 'All children under five!' shouts another, before any of the other nearly 200...

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Publications

"Clearly, this partnership between countries and sharing of expertise and know-how can go a long way to eradicating polio globally."

This online resource includes polio communication resources developed by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and CORE, who started working together in India in 2003 as the Social Mobilization Network (SM Net) to provide concentrated support for immunisation in high-risk areas (HRAs) of Uttar Pradesh (UP). Working in 12 districts of UP...

"We never felt the need to get our children immunized, but now, I will do my best to mobilize our community," says Muhammad Bello, the grandfather of a 2-year-old Aisha who fell victim to the wild poliovirus just a few weeks ago in Sokoto state, northern Nigeria."

This newsletter from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF...

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Communication Reviews

This report presents the findings of the Communication Review panel, conducted for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Pakistan on behalf of the national polio eradication programme. The panel worked in 4 teams to cover 4 areas of communication and social mobilisation: mass media; interpersonal communication and community engagement;...

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Community Participation

"Developing the plan has brought together multiple stakeholders involved in immunization, including governments and elected officials, health professionals, academia, manufacturers, global agencies, development partners, civil society, media and the private sector, to define collectively what the immunization community wants to achieve over...

This reference document on vaccine introduction is intended as support for decisionmaking on how to add new vaccines to country immunisation programmes. Based on the 2005 WHO [World Health Organization] Vaccine Introduction Guidelines, it draws on country experiences in vaccine introduction and the recommendations from guidelines, tools, and...

"...[D]espite huge investments in communication, refusals and unawareness of vaccine availability or importance still dominate as reasons for failing to immunise children who develop poliomyelitis."

This video from Polio Free India is a slideshow depicting the opening of the "Drops of Dialogue" polio gallery at District Hospital, Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh (UP), India created by CORE Group. As can be seen here, the event had the theme: for the children by the children: 1995 to 2014 (as symbolised by children taking part in the event). A...

Author, Seye Abimbola, orignally posted October 11 2013, cross-posted March 31 2014:    

This learning paper discusses the adaptation of best practices for delivering training of Community Drug Distributors (CDDs) in the implementation of integrated community case management (ICCM) to the context in South Sudan. In two states of South Sudan, NBeG and Unity, between June 2010 and June 2012, the Malaria Consortium developed materials...

"The polio campaign...sets a precedent for women's participation in large-scale action within Syria, and provides a citable example with which women can more confidently deny claims that the present circumstances do not permit them a role in supporting their people."

Author Jawahir Habib, March 8 2014:      "My husband hit me in the morning, he was asking for money," said a Lady Health Worker (LHW), Nadia, in Kili Shabo area of Quetta (South-west of Pakistan). "I have not received my polio immunization days payments for past four campaigns, my husband thinks I go out of...

"Health promotion and disease prevention is achieved by persuading, enticing, and requiring people to adopt healthy behaviors, and by changing environments to enable and be conducive to healthy individual and collective behaviors."

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Advocacy

"Developing the plan has brought together multiple stakeholders involved in immunization, including governments and elected officials, health professionals, academia, manufacturers, global agencies, development partners, civil society, media and the private sector, to define collectively what the immunization community wants to achieve over...

This reference document on vaccine introduction is intended as support for decisionmaking on how to add new vaccines to country immunisation programmes. Based on the 2005 WHO [World Health Organization] Vaccine Introduction Guidelines, it draws on country experiences in vaccine introduction and the recommendations from guidelines, tools, and...

"...[D]espite huge investments in communication, refusals and unawareness of vaccine availability or importance still dominate as reasons for failing to immunise children who develop poliomyelitis."

"Given that immunisation coverage must occur at population level for public health objectives and benefits to be fully realised, effective communications planning, and immunisation service delivery, must aim to understand individual choice perspectives, as well as the social dynamics that shape social norms, values and culture."

"Applying the resolve and dedication that characterizes polio eradication to a wider suite of services could provide communities with the services they are demanding, give workers a fresh reason for enthusiasm, and increase baseline RI coverage. The eradication of polio would probably not be far behind."

Author Jawahir Habib, March 8 2014:      "My husband hit me in the morning, he was asking for money," said a Lady Health Worker (LHW), Nadia, in Kili Shabo area of Quetta (South-west of Pakistan). "I have not received my polio immunization days payments for past four campaigns, my husband thinks I go out of...

"Health promotion and disease prevention is achieved by persuading, enticing, and requiring people to adopt healthy behaviors, and by changing environments to enable and be conducive to healthy individual and collective behaviors."

"[Y]outh's productive engagement in the polio/RI programme will provide it with a source of continued dynamism and productive energy. This is especially so as the Polio Eradication programme is transcending into a crucial phase, as for over three years no wild polio transmission is reported in the country (India), whereas the associated '...

"Effective Communication is certainly the only most powerful 'vaccine' that prevents communities from various dreaded diseases, including Polio..."

"[I]n India, evidence-based communication strategies - including through interpersonal communication and through social channels - made a marked difference in delivering effective health communication for the polio eradication programme."

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Nigeria

"...[D]espite huge investments in communication, refusals and unawareness of vaccine availability or importance still dominate as reasons for failing to immunise children who develop poliomyelitis."

"Interpreting resistance to vaccination as essentially religio-cultural marginalises an understanding of resistance as the rational and strategic response by households and communities to systematic conditions of inequity and exclusion."

Author, Seye Abimbola, orignally posted October 11 2013, cross-posted March 31 2014:    

"Polio eradication will only be achieved with stronger health systems and bottom-up community engagement, which is likely to require more time and more investment than is currently available in Pakistan, Nigeria, and Afghanistan because of their political fragility."

Author Umaru Pate, February 5 2014: Professor, Department of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri and Kaigamma of Adamawa, reflects on his recent experience as an expert panelist reviewing Afghanistan's polio communication programme. Professor Pate has also participated in similar reviews of Nigeria's polio communication programme...

Author Danjuma Gambo, February 5 2014: Professor in the Department of Mass Communication at the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria, and expert panellist on three polio communication reviews in Nigeria and India reflects on some of the challenges he believes face Nigeria's polio eradication efforts.

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Pakistan

For the monitoring of coverage in supplementary immunisation activities (SIAs) carried out as part of the effort to eradicate polio in Pakistan (and, thus, globally), "automated systems based on short message service (SMS) texts appear to be an attractive and relatively inexpensive option." This is the conclusion of research conducted by Aga...

"Interpreting resistance to vaccination as essentially religio-cultural marginalises an understanding of resistance as the rational and strategic response by households and communities to systematic conditions of inequity and exclusion."

Author, Seye Abimbola, orignally posted October 11 2013, cross-posted March 31 2014:    

Author Jawahir Habib, March 8 2014:      "My husband hit me in the morning, he was asking for money," said a Lady Health Worker (LHW), Nadia, in Kili Shabo area of Quetta (South-west of Pakistan). "I have not received my polio immunization days payments for past four campaigns, my husband thinks I go out of...

"Polio eradication will only be achieved with stronger health systems and bottom-up community engagement, which is likely to require more time and more investment than is currently available in Pakistan, Nigeria, and Afghanistan because of their political fragility."

This report emerges from an Islamabad, Pakistan, meeting - the first in a planned series of national consultation meetings in the remaining 3 polio-endemic countries, intended to give religious scholars at the national level the opportunity to brainstorm on strategies for a polio-free Islamic world by the end of 2014. The objectives of the...

The importance of capacity building of vaccinators, effective implementation of robust communication and social mobilisation strategies, real-time monitoring and analysis of data, research-based innovation, and seamless partnership are amongst the strategies outlined in this report, which emerged from a high-level, multi-partner meeting (July 4...

Behavioural outcome: Every child is vaccinated with the oral polio vaccine (OPV).

Delivered at the Pakistan Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Poliomyelitis Eradication, which met in Islamabad from November 27-28 2013, this presentation outlines:

"Local ownership for vaccination is now more critical than ever."

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Afghanistan

"Interpreting resistance to vaccination as essentially religio-cultural marginalises an understanding of resistance as the rational and strategic response by households and communities to systematic conditions of inequity and exclusion."

Author, Seye Abimbola, orignally posted October 11 2013, cross-posted March 31 2014:    

"Polio eradication will only be achieved with stronger health systems and bottom-up community engagement, which is likely to require more time and more investment than is currently available in Pakistan, Nigeria, and Afghanistan because of their political fragility."

Author Umaru Pate, February 5 2014: Professor, Department of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri and Kaigamma of Adamawa, reflects on his recent experience as an expert panelist reviewing Afghanistan's polio communication programme. Professor Pate has also participated in similar reviews of Nigeria's polio communication programme...

In this presentation prepared as part of a polio Technical Advisory Group (TAG) meeting (November 30 - December 1 2013, Kabul, Afghanistan), the Ministry of Public Health explores:

"Public awareness was the key for the success we had - in the schools, the mosques - but now keeping polio-free is more important than becoming polio-free." - Governor of Kandahar, Afghanistan

Notes from the field - Pakistan December 2013

Author Chris Morry, from his Field Notes series for the Polio Network on December 11 2013:         It has been very busy since we left Afghanistan for Nigeria. So busy in fact that it was 24 hours before I learned of Nelson Mandela's death. His passing is a moment for reflection not only on the impact of...

"Insecurity, targeted violence and bans; communications and social mobilisation; management and oversight of the global program - these are make or break issues for global polio eradication."

"Religious leaders are vital to the worldwide effort to free children from the scourge of polio. In countries where polio has recently been wiped out (Angola, Chad, India and DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo]), Islamic and Christian religious influencers were trailblazers in their communities. They built bridges to parents when trust...

"Clearly, this partnership between countries and sharing of expertise and know-how can go a long way to eradicating polio globally."

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India

This video from Polio Free India is a slideshow depicting the opening of the "Drops of Dialogue" polio gallery at District Hospital, Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh (UP), India created by CORE Group. As can be seen here, the event had the theme: for the children by the children: 1995 to 2014 (as symbolised by children taking part in the event). A...

"Interpreting resistance to vaccination as essentially religio-cultural marginalises an understanding of resistance as the rational and strategic response by households and communities to systematic conditions of inequity and exclusion."

"When we join hands, miracles happen."

"[Y]outh's productive engagement in the polio/RI programme will provide it with a source of continued dynamism and productive energy. This is especially so as the Polio Eradication programme is transcending into a crucial phase, as for over three years no wild polio transmission is reported in the country (India), whereas the associated '...

"Effective Communication is certainly the only most powerful 'vaccine' that prevents communities from various dreaded diseases, including Polio..."

"[I]n India, evidence-based communication strategies - including through interpersonal communication and through social channels - made a marked difference in delivering effective health communication for the polio eradication programme."

"Evidence-based approaches used in risk communication should be adopted as core principles by all health providers, experts, health authorities, policy makers, and politicians when communicating information about program interventions. These approaches include engagement with and listening to stakeholders, and being transparent about...

"Indian families are willing to pay for mobile phones even before they have toilets. They need to be aware that these phones can also be used to enquire about polio vaccination and provide tracking information."

"The strategy focuses on increasing knowledge and perceived importance of sanitation and hygiene practices, with the long term objective of changing the way society thinks so that open defecation is no longer acceptable in India."

"In calling for a new normal to solve complex social problems we ask to focus not on what is wrong with most people, but rather what is working with the very few, the exceptional, the positive deviants."

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