Just as our operational and vaccination strategies differ according to the epidemiological situation, our communication strategies must also differ according to a community's polio scenario, and the social and political context that they experience. Our efforts against polio take place across three potential scenarios and in some cases, you may be in a situation where there are multiple scenarios happening at the same time.
For the purpose of selecting communication scenario, we adopt a simplified definition of polio outbreak, which is detection of one or more poliovirus cases in the area which has been polio-free for more than six months. The critical factor in an outbreak is the existence of a critical mass of vulnerable children who must be swiftly vaccinated before the virus can spread. Maximizing vaccination coverage is the focus. The key exacerbating factors in outbreaks are most commonly the absence of strong routine immunization practices and basic public health infrastructure.
If the initial response to an outbreak fails to interrupt transmission of the virus within 12 months, or if considered an endemic country where circulation has never been interrupted, we can refer to this as an Enduring Outbreak.
The maintenance scenario comes after an outbreak is closed, or after an endemic country is declared polio-free. Continued monitoring and vigilance are necessary to prevent a resurgence of the disease or an increase in the population of unvaccinated children. The overall emphasis of the program must also transition from a singular focus on polio to an overall focus on routine immunization and child health.
Explore the other two learning modules in this 3-step tutorial to design evidence-driven communication strategies to help vaccinate every child.
Integrate communications tactics and understand their strengths and weaknesses, then evaluate performance.