India’s road to eradicating polio

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.

Lora with Community Mobilization Coordinators (CMCs), who encourage people in high risk areas to seek polio immunization.

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.

A mother in Deoghar in Jharkhand state brings her baby in for vaccination.
A mother in Deoghar in Jharkhand state brings her baby in for vaccination.

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.

3 responses to “India’s road to eradicating polio”

  1. Hi, Lora: It feels proud to say that we are part of such a responsible and accountable social and development sector, especially when we have serious people and organisations who are actually concerned about the cause. JSI has played a very vital role in achieving success in its mission. It was possible because of people engaged in the process who are passionate about whatever they do towards success of the mission. I would like to wish you, your team and JSI as an organisation for more such victories.

  2. Thank you Lora for sharing the mail. I often quoted your support and guidance.
    During my tenure in Jharkjand you visited Deaoghar and Jamtara twice. Your first visit was the trigger for me to explore negative dropout of DPT1-DPT3. While finding a solution to this I discovered that though MCTS and existing formats for tracking vaccination were theoretically good, due to many reasons it was not working practically. There was a huge gap between theory and practical. Tough OPV/HepB were not available/short supply, the culture of documentation was to tick mark if DPT was given.
    By Dec 2011 all the 12 blocks reached saturation through consistent/regular appreciative supportive supervision using ‘SS Checklist’ except for the constraints beyond District level. Later by Feb end initiated ‘My Village My Home’ suitably modified and made it ‘IRI’ Compatible for line listing the vaccination data of <2 yr children(born since 01 Apr 2010). I named This tool as 'LODO Inhibitor'. For the first time in the history of Immunization, I could get child specific drop-out hence no question of negative drop-out. In this offline tool vaccination data was entered antigen-wise and dose-wise hence whenever there was break in supply of OPV/Hep B, the tool clearly depicted child/dose specific backlog. Delay in launching IWs of IRI gave a window period of 4 months to conduct "IRI Simulation study" in 5 HSCs: 3 of Deoghar and 2 of Jamtara. Repeated/regular supportive supervision, technical guidance, felicitation of good work, regular feed back.. all lead to Rapid Backlog clearance and vaccination close to the schedule which has never happened in the history since 1978. On 15th Aug 2012, I shared the results Dewalbari HSC with 4 session sites as 'one pager' with CR/NTO/SR. This intervention brought a dramatic change in the work culture, developed a sense of 'custodian of beneficiaries'. You yourself witnessed the newborn vaccination Data of a child born on 16th Oct 12 on 17th Oct 12 – within 12 hrs hanging on the wall of session site. (Child was born outside HSC area of Kalhor of Karon Block !!) Change in work culture is an evidence for sustenance of intervention. This tool is doing 3 primary functions – "LODO meter; LODO Inhibitor; and Herd immunometer". It does many spinoff functions.
    On returning to Home state, I visited Sampaje PHC attached to KVG Medical College for field practice. In Karnataka also MCTS/HMIS/Monthly UIP reporting are in practice. To my "surpriZe" the Dewalbari booklet attracted the ANMs, demanded the tool. With all gratitude and blessings (taking advantage of Sr Citizenship) I upgraded the tool and made it Karnataka and District specific; named it as "IMMUNOGRAM" and the entire process of the approach as "IgM2+ Application". It did the magic faster than In Jharkahnd. Just in 3 weeks cleared 80% of Measles 2nd dose backlog which was reflected by existing tracking system. Without waiting and wasting time. I posted this as "Xmas Gift" and Peraje Template to Technet-21 and also share with the Govt, requested them to visit the field. State observers visited and recommended scaling up to a difficult district. "Immunogram and IgM2+" was piloted in a difficult district between June and Nov 2013. History repeated in a very short interval!!. Apart from left-out and drop-out, Measles 2 and JE backlog got cleared. This I shared with the Tecnet-21 viewers as "Xmas 2012 to Xmas 2013". The result was disseminated in the National SIAs meeting at Delhi by the SIO of Karnataka and in the state RI Task Force Meeting held on 23 Dec 2013. State administrators were very much convinced and on the spot directed the programme managers to extend "immunogram" to 8 more districts selected for RMNCH+A.
    Perfect blending of external organization like MCHIP through Technically competent Committed Consultants with Government can cut short the period and we can reach Global Eradication of Polio by 2018 and Measles elimination in 5 WHO regions well within 2020 through 'IMMUNOGRAM and IgM2+ Application".
    I take this opportunity to personally express my thanks to you; MCHIP and JSI. Pls do share
    updates and willing to serve further.

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