About Careers MedBlog Contact us

Polio: Better Community Engagement and Stronger Health Systems Need of the Hour

by Kathy Jones on October 10, 2013 at 8:41 PM
Font : A-A+

 Polio: Better Community Engagement and Stronger Health Systems Need of the Hour

Two articles call for a shift away from the leader-centric approach that polio eradication campaigns are currently pursuing in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The studies appear in this week's PLOS Medicine.

In a Policy Forum article, authors from Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan led by Seye Abimbola from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Nigeria, argue that the global health community and governments involved in polio eradication efforts need to build trust and prioritise polio eradication as part of routine health services in order to address the problem of polio.


The authors highlight that that increasing militancy, political unrest, lack of trust, and deteriorating security conditions are common denominators that threaten polio eradication efforts in all three countries, although these are embedded in country-specific contexts. However, the authors are concerned that current strategies being used to tackle polio may not be best suited to the situation within the three countries.

The authors say, "[i]n our view, the ambition of the global health community to eradicate polio appears to be blinding it to lessons learned about health systems over the past 30 years. Polio eradication will only be achieved with stronger health systems and bottom-up community engagement, which is likely to require more time and more investment than is currently available in Pakistan, Nigeria, and Afghanistan because of their political fragility."

In an independently written Essay, Svea Closser and Rashid Jooma from Middlebury College, United States and Aga Khan University, Pakistan highlight the importance of Lady Health Workers in Pakistan who are crucial for the country's polio eradication efforts.

There are approximately 106,000 Lady Health Workers in Pakistan who in addition to working on polio campaigns, visit families monthly to promote family planning; advise on nutrition and hygiene; and create demand for antenatal care, childhood immunization, and use of skilled birth attendants.

However, the authors describe how Pakistan's Lady Health Workers are often in desperate financial straits, have little opportunity for career advancement and risk their lives as frontline health workers. The authors call for a shift away from the "leader-centric" model being employed by partners involved in the polio eradication effort and for increased support for Lady Health Workers in Pakistan.

The authors conclude, "Pakistan's [Lady Health Workers] have the potential to achieve universal immunization and polio eradication in the country. In fact, both of these goals are probably impossible without their full support. Achieving them depends on a shift from treating frontline female health staff as disposable labor to truly engaging them as well-supported, active partners in achieving a healthier Pakistan."

Source: Eurekalert


Recommended Reading

Latest General Health News

What Are the Consequences of Celebrities Endorsing Tobacco?
In India, youth must be aware of the diseases linked to cigarette smoking and tobacco consumption, causing a form of healthcare emergency.
 People Living Close to the Seaside Enjoy Better Health
Direct coastal access may represent a viable route to public health promotion, but the relationships of coastal living are not strongest among lower-income groups.
 Over Four Million Gardeners Place Their Hearing in Danger
New research by Tinnitus UK has found that over four million gardeners are putting their hearing capacity at risk this summer without using safety protection.
Breaking the Barrier: Unraveling Mucus Plugs to Save Lives in COPD
Mucus plugs could be targeted to help reduce fatalities from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
 Disease Modifying Therapies for Multiple Sclerosis Continue to Drive Up Healthcare Cost
The development of reliable curative therapies for multiple sclerosis could significantly reduce the economic burden of the disease on patients and wider society.
View All
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close

Polio: Better Community Engagement and Stronger Health Systems Need of the Hour Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests