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UNICEF-RSPN Raising Community Awareness on Polio Campaign in High Risk Districts of Sindh

RSPN signed an agreement with UNICEF Sindh for the implementation of the project, “Awareness Raising Amongst Communities of Sindh for Polio Vaccination of Children”. This project was been implemented in three phases:

Phase 1

June 2011: Training and deploying 395 women and men campaigners for promoting polio vaccinations, RSPN reached 96,615 households from seven high risks Union Councils (UCs) of Karachi over period of ten days. Beyond person-to-person contact, the campaign also disseminated its message through mega phone announcements, TV cable channels, and 429 local religious leaders. The awareness raising team also extended support to ‘Health Teams’ during the polio vaccination days (20-22 June 2011) by making announcements about their visits and helping them address any vaccination refusals.

In a period of 10 days, 96,615 households from 7 high risk union councils of Karachi were contacted. Women present at their houses were provided information about the importance of polio vaccination and were informed of the polio teams visiting their house for the 20-22 June 2011 polio eradication initiative – children under the age of 5 years were to be prepared to receive polio drops during these days.

14,475 men were also approached through corner meetings and provided information about the importance of polio drops for children. They were asked to help women in their households to ensure the availability of their children under the age of 5 years for polio vaccination.

Phase 2

Following the successful completion of its Karachi-based efforts with UNICEF in June 2011, RSPN expanded its polio awareness initiative with UNICEF Sindh for three more months: September, October and December 2011. During these months, RSPN conducted awareness raising campaigns in a further 87 union councils. The campaigns reached a total of 939,112 households, representing a target population of 449.989 children of up to 5 years of age. All these households received messages to get their children vaccinated against the fatal disease of polio. Beyond broad targeting of households, the campaigns also included more specific awareness raising efforts to ensure a higher success rate. Therefore, to ensure male involvement in these campaigns, a total of 365,570 male members were directly approached through individual and corner meetings. To get the support of religious leaders and students, 2,005 religious institutions and 2,386 schools were also visited. These community awareness raising efforts successfully reduced possible vaccination refusals: for example, during the polio service delivery campaign of December 2011, RSPN’s social mobilization teams addressed 1,573 out of 1,808 refusals at the spot.

Phase 3

January 2012: RSPN raised community awareness on polio in 13 high risk districts of Sindh, from the 20th to the 29th of January 2012. These 13 districts included 46 Talukas, which consisted of 93 Union Councils. The estimated population affected by this campaign was 3.45 million people, covering 593,946 households. The direct beneficiaries of this campaign were 586,587 children under the age of 5. A total of 2,120 campaigners were hired, out of which 1,272 were women and 93 were religious campaigners.

Major activities of the project included:

  • Household visits by women campaigners
  • Corner meetings with men by male campaigners
  • Individual meetings with religious figures and school teachers
  • Advocacy meetings with religious leaders at Union Council and District Levels.
  • Sessions with students at religious institutions and schools.
  • Announcements through megaphones throughout communities and in Mosques

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