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Polio Update '08

© UNICEF/HQ04-0732/Mudi Yahaya

2008 saw a combined national and regional focus on social mobilization to address the small percentage of families who continue to resist immunization. 

The national efforts began with a forum of traditional religious leaders and the media to establish support for upcoming IPD rounds. The forum created a list of action points that includes: 


  • asking the Sultan for an additional commitment to PEI
  • engaging the Governor of Borno State to address the challenges of local anti-polio preaching
  • sending a letter in Arabic to all Koranic Schools informing them of the coming round of IPD
  • enlisting the assistance of Islamic Voluntary Aid workers who are attached to Koranic schools' vaccination teams
  • increasing the radio and TV exposure for Ministry of Religious Affairs Officials

A national mass media operational plan was developed in April 2008 that has re-established a media sub-committee and created a new organization of Journalists Against Polio. Mobile Van Announcements will also be introduced in high risk areas to compliment town announcers in public places at high-traffic periods.  

Efforts to improve the documentation and data evaluation processes were also bolstered. Human interest stories will be regularly generated to keep the public aware of and connected to both the importance and success of the PEI program.  WHO will continue performing communication analysis after each SIA. Community Dialogue Audits and the Annual KAP Study will continue and UNICEF will publish quarterly EPI updates to keep partners and the public aware of progress.

The challenges of reaching all families vary from area to area, so regional plans were made for each high risk area to better address local needs.  Some of the highlights were:

  • Sokoto States’ collaboration with the Arabic and Islamic Board to prepare publications to address the anti-polio preaching of Islamic Scholar in Kware LGA, Alhaji Musa Lukwa. This led to substantial reduction in NC in Kware, Wurno, Gwadabawa, Sokoto North, Sokoto South, Wamakko and Illela LGAs during April rounds
  • Katisna State’s introduction of mobile ambulances whose easy access has help create a sense of goodwill in some communities and accelerated acceptance of polio vaccine
  • Kano State’s sensitizing Koranic schoolteachers to the importance of the PEI and engaging them to act as ward focal points to ensure children are vaccinated
  • Borno State’s use of mobile van announcements in markets, motor parks and residential areas to supplement the actives of the local town announcers

Return to Communication for Polio Nigeria page



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