For the last 20 years, global polio eradication has been a collaborative effort between the World Health Organization, UNICEF, Rotary International, CDC, foreign Ministries of Health, and other non-governmental organization partners. Global eradication has been nearly complete at various points in history, but security risks and geographical and cultural barriers have made it difficult to reach unvaccinated children. We are again close to global polio eradication, but there are still countries where polio is endemic, and the challenge of circulating vaccine derived polio (cVDPV) remains. Disease surveillance does not occur in many areas, hampering eradication efforts.
Since 2003, McKing has been supporting polio eradication efforts by placing staff in over 40 countries for short- and long-term assignments. These consultants enable international organizations to have representatives on the ground, keeping them informed of and participating in in-country activities. McKing staff activities include
- Identifying and recruiting technical support candidates in key countries.
- Planning and implementing training, meetings, and events.
- Field support for immunization campaigns, surveillance, and supplementary immunization activities.
- Technical advisory support to strengthen routine immunization.
- Financial advice and monitoring/evaluation of in-country activities.
- Advocacy for new vaccine introduction.
- Laboratory support.
- Data analysis support.
- Administrative management.
McKing’s on-the-ground support of and collaboration with key public health organizations has contributed to polio eradication efforts worldwide. The turnaround cases of India and Nigeria provide two examples of the success of McKing’s collaborative strategy. In 2009, India accounted for almost half of annual global polio cases and was considered one of the most difficult places to eradicate polio. In Nigeria rumors about vaccine side effects fueled the spread of polio across Sub-Saharan Africa. Through collaborative efforts supported by McKing, India was declared polio free in 2014, and the continent of Africa is now free from wild polio virus. At the beginning of 2021, only two countries were considered to be polio endemic countries—Afghanistan and Pakistan.