UNICEF Polio: The Last 1 Percent

UNICEF Polio: The Last 1 Percent

Normalizing polio immunization through research-based communications

Situation: The Global Polio Eradication Initiative reduced polio cases by 99% between 1988 and 2016, however, eliminating the remaining 1% of polio requires changing the perceptions and social norms that deter caregivers from vaccinating their children. The final 1% relies on health workers in remote and difficult areas, who have only short interactions with caregivers to convince them to vaccinate their children.

Insight: Whether a country is reacting to an initial report of a poliovirus outbreak and needs to get the word out quickly, or managing a protracted outbreak and needs a more nuanced communication approach that can address campaign fatigue or localized immunization resistance, there is a need for guidance and resources to reach target audiences with creative and effective communication.

Approach: The strategy focused on providing guidance on how to effectively deal with an enduring outbreak of poliovirus through communication, barrier analysis, and audience analysis.

Outputs: UNICEF engaged McCann Global Health to reconstruct its global communications strategy to establish childhood immunization as a social norm while building trust and goodwill for health workers. Along with partners, McCann Global Health developed the Polio Communication Global Guide, an adaptable how-to toolkit for planning and building effective mass media and interpersonal communication (IPC) strategies with the ultimate goal of eradicating polio. Additionally, we designed four Adaptable creative campaigns with key messages, branding guidelines, implementation, and monitoring guidance. The toolkit focuses specifically on how to communicate with hard-to-reach populations, where the final cases of polio continue to appear.