Eradicating Polio

Polio partnerships

UNICEF Image: Child displays fingered marked indicating she received polio immunization
© UNICEF/Afghanistan/Dragaj
Religious and community leaders attend an awareness-raising meeting with polio vaccination mobilizer.

UNICEF collaborates with its partners and national ministries of health to raise community and household awareness of polio, to mobilize the use of available immunization services, and to respond quickly and effectively to communities’ immunization concerns and needs. To ensure maximum community and caregiver participation in polio campaigns, UNICEF applies Communication for Development (C4D) approaches that embrace a systematic, evidence-based strategic planning and implementation process to effect positive and measurable change in individual and community behaviors.

Key to C4D successes are the application of social and behavior change theories, utilization of data and consistent adherence to participatory techniques. The C4D approach incorporates a mix of communication strategies in response to observed social and cultural behaviors in national and local contexts. C4D differs in significant ways from conventional communication methods by establishing programme-specific initiatives that empower community members to express their individual voices and to participate actively in polio eradication efforts.

By engaging families, communities and larger social networks through dialogue and consultation to identify key issues, challenges and opportunities, and to take action themselves in their own communities, outcomes are enduring and have the potential to impact development outcomes beyond polio eradication. For example, UNICEF promotes awareness and use of health services to prevent polio and other health threats and monitors the results.

In this final stage of the polio programme UNICEF and its partners aim to reach the most at-risk populations. These groups hold the key to the global goal of polio eradication, and their participation in and ownership of the eradication initiative is essential to global success. C4D approaches give the global initiative the tools and understanding necessary to reach these populations and ensure every last child is immunized.

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