12,511 The Communication Initiative, Vaccination Conversations, The Drum Beat 692

The Drum BeatVaccination Conversations: The Drum Beat 692
This issue of The Drum Beat invites you to engage with The CI network on how communication strategies make a difference in the intersections between polio eradication efforts and routine immunisation (RI). Over the previous few weeks, we have profiled through our health communication social network a series of 5 editorials reflecting on the relationship between polio and RI and polio’s legacy moving forward. Each author comes at the issue from his or her own extensive experience with polio and RI and offers a unique perspective to what has been, and will continue to be, a major area of debate and programme strategy.

Below, you will find excerpts from 5 editorials together with links to the full documents on our Polio theme site and on the Health Communication network discussion space – as well as via social media.

We look forward to your review and comments on these editorials, which we hope will contribute to a lively discussion in many venues. We also welcome your submission of additional editorials at any time.

Please let others in your social networks know about these editorials and the discussion around them in order to widen and deepen dialogue on the impact of the polio eradication initiative on RI and other child health issues.

From The Communication Initiative Network – where communication and media are central to social and economic development
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1. Relationship between polio eradication and routine immunisation – lessons from the field: Life after Polio
by Roma Solomon
“…National Immunisation Days’ began in 1995, and women lined up at fixed booths to get their children vaccinated against polio. There was a festive air, making it seem like a ‘People’s programme’. However, it soon became clear that children were being missed in large numbers. This led the government in 1999 to take the bold step of sending the vaccinators to each house, tracking all children below five years of age and giving them OPV (Oral Polio Vaccine). Slowly, a very positive activity transformed into a seemingly coercive one, with parents’ enthusiasm turning into reluctance in some states and then into hard core resistance. What went wrong makes for a lesson in community mobilisation that must never be forgotten…” [May 2015]

Please comment by scrolling down on each editorial to the words “DEVELOPMENT CONVERSATIONS – The Communication Initiative Network”. You may then join the discussion – it is free to participate. Click here and log in using your Facebook or Twitter accounts and then comment on the editorial you are reading. If you have any questions about this process, send an email to info@comminit.com
2. Polio-Free India: The Role of the Social Mobilization Network (SMNet)
by Chris Morry and Kier Olsen DeVries
“…Starting in 2003 and in response to increasing numbers of parents refusing to immunise their children because of suspicions and rumours related to the vaccine, UNICEF and the CORE Group Polio Project (CGPP) met with the government of UP and the Social Mobilisation Network (SMNet) was established. This process took time to build, but, eventually, worked at a significant scale in UP, Bihar and to a lesser extent, West Bengal so that by 2012 there were roughly 9,125 community mobilizers: some 5,529 frontline workers in Uttar Pradesh, 1,596 in Bihar and around 2,000 in West Bengal….The future sustainability of SMNet as an important health resource for India has become a major topic of discussion. India is still threatened with polio importation from the remaining endemic countries and has to maintain high levels of polio immunization for many years to come. Yet it has now been polio free for ov! er four years and the justification for SMNet based on the needs of the eradication effort are increasingly difficult to support. There is now a lot of discussion about the wider legacy of the PEI [Polio Eradication Initiative] for health infrastructures. This is not uncontroversial. The GPEI has done research that indicates PEI’s impact on routine immunization ranges from neutral to positive but there are many who argue that the polio eradication effort’s need to focus high levels of resources on a single antigen has impacted negatively on routine immunisation levels in many countries. SMNet stands as an important example of how such negative consequences can be ameliorated in future and why it is a resource that needs to be assessed for its potential to support other mother and child health priorities…” [May 2015].

We also look forward to your participation in a discussion group on the relationship between polio and RI immunisation in our Networks section. If you need help with registering to take part in this conversation, send an email to to info@comminit.com
3. Why using polio infrastructure to support broader health services could help secure eradication
by Svea Closser
“…I worked along with a team of other researchers in 2012 on a project aimed at assessing the impact of polio eradication on RI and primary health care. We went to eight study sites in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, learning about the relationship between polio eradication and other health services by spending time working with and interviewing the workers….As an anthropologist, I’m used to thinking about these issues firmly in terms of local context. So I was surprised to find that the ways that people in Kano talked about vaccine refusals were very similar to the ways that people in Karachi talked about them. In both places, one issue was paramount: the heavy focus on polio campaigns in the context of weak health services….Given these sentiments, in polio’s last strongholds, it seems to me that social mobilization strategies must ameliorate the mismatch between polio and other health ! services in order to be successful….In our research, we found some strategies that work, built on polio’s existing infrastructure. These best practices show that supporting RI through polio eradication is both possible and effective.” [May 2015]

Please spread the word about these editorials and your own work by using the Twitter hashtags #polio and #routineimmunisation
4. The Impact of Polio Eradication Activities on Routine Immunization in Three Northern Nigerian States
by Anne McArthur
“…Resistance to polio vaccination in Northern Nigeria occurs in poor and marginalized communities and the needs of those communities have been historically overlooked by government health initiatives and services. Polio and other campaigns are viewed with suspicion when local priorities and specific community needs are not addressed, which in turn can lead to vaccine refusal. The 2003-2004 polio vaccination boycott in Northern Nigeria was largely due to community suspicion, top-down programming and distrust in the government….This thesis shows the importance of understanding the concerns of communities targeted by health programs and the importance of building programs that better serve the needs of those communities. We need to focus on the community and recognize that ‘one size does not fit’ all when planning and implementing health interventions.” [March 2015].

Not in a social media mood? The CI’s Polio collection of summarised knowledge on experiences, strategies, evaluations, resources, and all things related to communication as it has infused the story of polio eradication is available here.
5. Lessons Learned for Routine Immunisation from the Polio Eradication Campaign
by Sue Goldstein
“Of the 19.3 million children under-immunized with DTP-3 [diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis] in 2010, 6.6 million were in Africa and 60% of those children lived in only five countries. The availability of vaccines is not the major problem – it is the delivery systems, a trained workforce to deliver the vaccines, and a participating community that are most desperately needed.” [Goldstein citing the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa (2012) and then asking:] What can be learned from the polio eradication campaign that can contribute to improved RI coverage going forward?…Bringing together the lessons of focus, improving measurement and use of data at all levels, developing and using quality control mechanisms, bringing on board RI champions, integrating communication into RI at all levels, using communication to garner political will and finance for universal coverage in RI will go a! long way towards saving the lives of millions of children…” [May 2015]

The World Health Organization (WHO), in partnership with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations (CSOs), is organising a global consultation to discuss WHO’s new End tuberculosis (TB) strategy, with a focus on the role of collaboration and cooperation between governments, NGOs, CSOs, and community members in reducing TB deaths by 95% and the incidence of TB by 90% by the year 2035. These organisations, which include faith-based organisations (FBOs), patient-based organisations, and professional associations, and others, engage in activities that range from community mobilisation, service delivery, and technical assistance to research and advocacy to combat TB, including through what WHO describes as a a tool that needs to be made available by 2025: “a new vaccine that is effective pre- and post-exposure.”

In advance of the November 11-13 2015 consultation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, you are invited to take a brief online survey to identify critical areas and main challenges that need to be discussed during November’s workshop as well as to select national and indigenous NGOs and CSOs to submit a 500-word proposal to compete for WHO financial support to attend the workshop in Ethiopia.

The online survey, which is available in English, French, and Spanish, will run until August 31 2015. Please click here to participate and to find more information on the WHO End TB Strategy.

This issue of The Drum Beat was written by Kier Olsen DeVries and Chris Morry.

from The Communication Initiative…where communication and media are central to social and economic development

Full list of The CI PartnersANDI, BBC Media ActionBernard van Leer Foundation, BreakthroughCiturna TV, Fundación ImaginarioFundación Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano (FNPI)HeartlinesJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication ProgramsMaternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP)MISAOpen Society FoundationsOxfam NovibPAHOThe Panos InstitutePuntos de EncuentroSAfAIDSSesame WorkshopSoul CitySTEPS InternationalUNAIDSUNICEFUniversidad de los AndesUSAIDWorld Health Organization (WHO)W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

The Drum Beat seeks to cover the full range of communication for development activities. Inclusion of an item does not imply endorsement or support by The Partners.

Chair of the Partners Group: Garth Japhet, Founder, Soul City garth@heartlines.org.za

Executive Director: Warren Feek wfeek@comminit.com

The Editor of The Drum Beat is Kier Olsen DeVries.
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