For the last twenty years, global polio eradication has been a collaborative effort between the World Health Organization, UNICEF, Rotary International, CDC, foreign Ministries of Health and numerous other non-governmental organization partners. Global eradication has been nearly complete at various points in history, but there have been setbacks because of the inability to reach unvaccinated children due to security risks and geographical and cultural barriers. Even though we’re again close to global polio eradication, there still remain countries endemic for polio. International organizations supporting in-country polio eradication efforts need a better understanding of the barriers and opportunities for polio eradication in these countries.
How We Help:
Since 2003, McKing has been supporting polio eradication efforts by placing staff in 20 countries for short- and long-term assignments. These consultants enable international organizations fighting polio to have representatives on the ground to keep them informed of in-country activities, and advocating and participating in meetings in each country. McKing staff activities include:
Planning and implementing polio-related 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 and evaluation of in-country program activities
Laboratory support to the Global Polio Laboratory Network
Data analysis support
McKing’s on-the-ground support of key public health organizations, those organizations on the front lines of this work, has contributed to the efforts to eradicate polio worldwide. Two examples of this collaborative strategy can be found in the turnaround cases of India and Nigeria. In 2009, India accounted for almost half of the annual global polio cases and was considered one of the most difficult places to eradicate polio due to its dense population. In Nigeria rumors that the polio vaccine caused AIDS and infertility fueled the spread of polio within Nigeria and across Sub-Saharan Africa. Through multi-organization efforts, supported by McKing consultants and expertise, India was declared polio-free by WHO in 2014, and Nigeria reported only six cases of polio that year. At the beginning of 2015, only three countries were considered to be polio endemic countries – Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.