On February 11, 2014, India celebrated a milestone on its road to being polio free, after not reporting a case of wild poliovirus in three years. JSI congratulates India on this significant accomplishment! We are pleased to have been able to contribute to this tremendous achievement through a ten-year commitment to supporting improved immunization in the country.
The commitment of the Government of India as well as a number of key strategies and partnerships have contributed to the eradication of polio in India. JSI has supported immunization efforts in India since 2004, through the IMMUNIZATIONbasics project (IMMbasics) and MCHIP. JSI has implemented USAID-funded polio activities in India with a focus on linking polio eradication more directly with routine immunization and supporting efforts to address gaps, for example harmonizing polio and routine immunization monitoring data, and identifying newborns and ensuring their timely vaccination with oral polio vaccince (OPV) birth dose. JSI has also helped track children beyond polio supplementary immunization activities (SIAs) to improve completion of their full immunization schedule with OPV and other antigens.
Additionally, technical inputs were provided at national level to the National Technical Advisory Group for Immunization (NTAGI ) to help guide short- and longer-term polio strategies, and to the India Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s (MOHFW) Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) and partners for the “2012-2013 Year of Intensification of Routine Immunization”, which incorporated learnings from IMMbasics and MCHIP work. Along with other activities, both projects developed and shared need-based tools and job-aids to improve field implementation.
JSI provided technical guidance to the national MOHFW/UIP and various technical advisory groups at both national and global levels on data-driven decision making. Through this support, high-risk areas and populations were identified, and strategies to reach them with SIAs as well as routine immunization services and system improvements were developed and implemented. On a more local level, JSI provided technical assistance to state and local partners in Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh states and focus districts to identify and strengthen services to high-risk areas.
In coordination with WHO, UNICEF, CORE, CARE, and other partners, JSI provided technical input and capacity building for effective and adaptable communication strategies to reach underserved populations. This support led to increased linkages between Jharkhand and UP states with broader immunization-strengthening activities. There was strong emphasis placed on participatory problem identification and problem solving, in partnership with government health staff and NGOs, to reach every district.
The effort put into eradicating polio was immense, and JSI is proud to have joined forces with the many players who contributed to this terrific achievement.
This success is a result of the dedication of the Government of India and many remarkable Indians, particularly those active at the community level on a day-to-day and door-to-door basis. Over the last eight years, I have seen first-hand the hard work of national and state government officials, Auxiliary Nurse Midwives, Accredited Social Health Activists, Anganwadi Workers, and other health workers, countless volunteers, community leaders, and individuals of all ages, notably in Jharkhand and UP states. We share a common goal: to promote public health and protect Indian children, and those around the world, from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Learn more about JSI’s work in Immunization.