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Successful polio eradication in Uttar Pradesh, India: the pivotal contribution of the Social Mobilization Network, an NGO / UNICEF collaboration.
Global Health: Science and Practice. 2013 Mar; 1(1):68-83.In Uttar Pradesh, India, in response to low routine immunization coverage and ongoing poliovirus circulation, a network of U.S.-based CORE Group member and local nongovernmental organizations partnered with UNICEF, creating the Social Mobilization Network (SMNet). The SMNet’s goal was to improve access and reduce family and community resistance to vaccination. The partners trained thousands of mobilizers from high-risk communities to visit households, promote government-run child immunization services, track children’s immunization history and encourage vaccination of children missing scheduled vaccinations, and mobilize local opinion leaders. Creative behavior change activities and materials promoted vaccination awareness and safety, household hygiene, sanitation, home diarrheal-disease control, and breastfeeding. Program decision-makers at all levels used household-level data that were aggregated at community and district levels, and senior staff provided rapid feedback and regular capacity-building supervision to field staff. Use of routine project data and targeted research findings offered insights into and informed innovative approaches to overcoming community concerns impacting immunization coverage. While the SMNet worked in the highest-risk, poorly served communities, data suggest that the immunization coverage in SMNet communities was often higher than overall coverage in the district. The partners’ organizational and resource differences and complementary technical strengths posed both opportunities and challenges; overcoming them enhanced the partnership’s success and contributions.
Lancet. 2004 Jan 17; 363(9404):215.Health ministers from the world’s six remaining polio-endemic countries— Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Niger, Nigeria, and Pakistan —pledged in a declaration signed in Geneva on Jan 15 to boost their polio-eradication activities in a bid to wipe out the disease. The commitment came amid growing fears that the ongoing outbreak in west Africa—centred in Nigeria and Niger—and the importation of cases to neighbouring countries could derail the 15-year global effort to eradicate the disease. (excerpt)
Lancet. 2003 Oct 25; 362(9393):1386.Delegates from 50 countries have vowed to intensify efforts to reduce deaths from measles, which claims the lives of 2000 children a day. More than 200 health officials launched the Cape Town Measles Declaration on Oct 17, pledging to save the lives of almost half a million children every year by 2005. This will be done by expanding proven immunisation strategies and focusing on 45 countries identified as the highest priority for mortality-reduction strategies. (excerpt)
Lancet. 2003 Sep 13; 362(9387):841.The media focus on continuing instability in Iraq following the unseating of Saddam Hussein earlier this year has all but obliterated coverage of the first armed-conflict casualty in the post-September 11 war on terrorism—Afghanistan. Media coverage of the collapse of the Taliban in late 2001 ensured that the parlous state of Afghanistan’s health became very familiar, with the world’s fourth highest infant and under-5 mortality rates and the highest ever recorded maternal mortality rate. Subsequent media coverage has concentrated on the continuing lack of security, with only passing reference to the poor health status. Scratch the surface of Afghanistan’s depressing health statistics, however, and an impressive example of post-conflict reconstruction is revealed. Afghanistan has risen to the challenge to provide for its people’s health and in so doing has set up a challenge for other similarly affected countries to follow suit. (excerpt)
POLIO NEWS. 1999 Jun; (4):5.An estimated 4.3 million children were vaccinated against polio and given vitamin A supplements during the first round of the National Immunization Days (NIDs) in Afghanistan. In the remote areas, 20,000 health workers and volunteers were trained and deployed to reach children for vaccination. Moreover, the WHO helped in the distribution of supplies and sent supervisors into three villages of the remote district of Badakshan. A strong-mounted, well-coordinated social mobilization campaign through the local radio was made possible by mosques, the BBC, Voice of America, and print media in Afghanistan and Pakistan. NIDs are jointly conducted by the WHO, the UN Children's Fund, the Ministry of Public Health, and nongovernmental organizations. Mass immunization campaigns and NIDs have been conducted in Afghanistan since 1994.