Community participation is critical to Tanzania’s effective polio vaccination effort
Even though the current generation has never seen a polio victim, grandparents and parents in Tanzania are taking their children to the local polio vaccination facility. This is due to the efforts of people involved in public health and behavior modification. They are the voices of Tanzania’s young children.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Rotary International provided technical assistance to the World Health Organization, as well as cash to train campaign supervisors, assist in monitoring, and maintain project data. Tanzania has prepared an additional polio vaccination campaign due to the low acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine, despite excellent routine vaccination coverage. COVID-19 vaccines appear to be associated with polio vaccinations.
According to a communication officer for the vaccine campaign, distinguishing fear from the reality of the polio outbreak and bridging information gaps were important. The two additional doses of the polio vaccine were effective due to strong public support for vaccination and a well-coordinated public awareness campaign.
Two wild polio cases were reported in Malawi and Mozambique in February and April of this year, respectively, and the second round of supplementary polio vaccination is one of four rounds of coordinated operations to prevent polio spread in these countries. Tanzania’s 195 districts were all represented in the second round of elections, which took place between May 18 and May 21.
Tanzania and other nearby nations gave more polio vaccines after cases were identified in Malawi in February 2022 and Mozambique in April of this year. The second round of supplemental polio vaccines has been deployed to prevent the spread of polio in Malawi and Mozambique, both of which have wild polio cases.
Meetings were arranged at all levels, from ministerial to grassroots, to encourage people to take polio vaccines. Live broadcasts, television and radio announcements, notification letters, and town crier announcements, as well as door-to-door visits, were all utilized to get people to take polio vaccines.
“We re-encouraged them to help us keep Tanzania polio-free by emphasizing the effectiveness of routine immunization,” Gadau says. In Tanzania, polio immunization has been available since 1975. 5100 social mobilizers (most of them were community health professionals and local community leaders) and 530 town criers were trained to go door-to-door and raise awareness from March 24 to March 27, 2022. Furthermore, anti-polio messages will be broadcast on 26 local and national radio stations.
The second round of supplementary vaccines broadened the scope and scope of the activities. The campaign’s preparatory meetings were held at the ministerial, regional, district, ward, and village levels. At the district level, the PHC committee was critical. The Public Health Committee is made up of department heads, religious leaders, media figures, and members of the district’s security committee (PHC).
A variety of launch events were held on May 18, the first day of the second cycle. It was the responsibility of the minister of health to preside over the national launch in Dodoma, which was broadcast live on national and internet television. Launch celebrations were held in each area, district, town, or hamlet at the same time.
Gadau noted that the objective of national proclamations from national leaders was to “raise local awareness of the necessity of immunization and reinforce this enthusiasm.” I was requested to answer questions on 14 major radio and television programs. Regional incidents occur more frequently.
Mr. Danford Barnabas, Regional Immunization and Vaccine Officer in Mbeya, for example, stated that the region received letters from the district director promoting community meetings to promote polio vaccine messages. He said. Furthermore, we sent formal letters to religious leaders urging that they educate their congregations. The government hired teachers to deliver information to kids’ families.
Districts employed mobile public announcements two days before the campaign to inform people of the date and location of the vaccination drive, as well as to remind them to open their doors to guests. According to campaign data, social mobilizers were the most important source of information for families, followed by radio and television, and religious leaders.
During the second round of additional vaccinations, Tanzania completed 12,131,049 extra polio vaccines, or 117.8 percent of the target of 10,295, 316. Data from the second round of polio immunization implies that the third and fourth rounds will be equally effective, providing that all families have been told that they will be administered.