Key Evidence: The expertise and assets gained through efforts to eradicate polio at least partially explain the improvement between 2013 and 2015 in vaccination coverage of DPT3 in six out of ten “focus” countries of the Polio Eradication Endgame strategic plan. This includes substantial increases in vaccination rates in India, Nigeria, and Ethiopia, which, combined, reduced the number of children not fully vaccinated with DPT by 2 million in 2 years.
Key Evidence: Communications and organizing skills and strategies developed by the India Social Mobilization Network (SMNet) — a 7,000 largely female work force created in 3 states as part of the polio eradication program to address deep-rooted sociocultural resistance to immunization in some of the most marginalized and at-risk communities- lead to strengthening of communications and social mobilization capacity of the national immunization program and contributed to sharp increases in immunization coverage of all routine childhood vaccines. These strategies, which can be applied to other health goals and priorities, included training and use of religious leaders, teachers, shopkeepers and others as community “influencers”; highly-skilled interpersonal communications; media management and evidence-based planning.
From the VoICE Editors: The authors report successes such as Uttar Pradesh, rates of full immunization coverage increased from 36% in 2009 to 81% in 2016.
Key Evidence: Tens of millions of volunteers, social mobilizers, and health workers have participated in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. The program contributes to efforts to deliver other health benefits, including health systems strengthening. Polio eradication legacy efforts include documenting and applying the lessons learned from polio eradication, and transitioning the capacities, assets, and processes of polio to other key health priorities.