3 years ago

Communications, Immunization, and Polio Vaccines: Lessons From a Global Perspective on Generating Political Will, Informing Decision-Making and Planning, and Engaging Local Support.

Wanyoike S, Rosenbauer O, Malik S, Farrell M, Kodio FK, Menning L, Patel M, Garg G, Thrush E, Veira CL, Pokharel D
The requirements under objective 2 of the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018-to introduce at least 1 dose of inactivated poliomyelitis vaccine (IPV); withdraw oral poliomyelitis vaccine (OPV), starting with the type 2 component; and strengthen routine immunization programs-set an ambitious series of targets for countries. Effective implementation of IPV introduction and the switch from trivalent OPV (containing types 1, 2, and 3 poliovirus) to bivalent OPV (containing types 1 and 3 poliovirus) called for intense global communications and coordination on an unprecedented scale from 2014 to 2016, involving global public health technical agencies and donors, vaccine manufacturers, World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund regional offices, and national governments. At the outset, the new program requirements were perceived as challenging to communicate, difficult to understand, unrealistic in terms of timelines, and potentially infeasible for logistical implementation. In this context, a number of core areas of work for communications were established: (1) generating awareness and political commitment via global communications and advocacy; (2) informing national decision-making, planning, and implementation; and (3) in-country program communications and capacity building, to ensure acceptance of IPV and continued uptake of OPV. Central to the communications function in driving progress for objective 2 was its ability to generate a meaningful policy dialogue about polio vaccines and routine immunization at multiple levels. This included efforts to facilitate stakeholder engagement and ownership, strengthen coordination at all levels, and ensure an iterative process of feedback and learning. This article provides an overview of the global efforts and challenges in successfully implementing the communications activities to support objective 2. Lessons from the achievements by countries and partners will likely be drawn upon when all OPVs are completely withdrawn after polio eradication, but also may offer a useful model for other global health initiatives.

Publisher URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28838189

DOI: PubMed:28838189

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