Empowering Communities and Health Workers
PCI has been a member of the Core Group Polio Project India consortium network since 2001. In collaboration with World Health Organization, the Government of India and other partners, PCI helps increase acceptance of the oral polio vaccine in the target communities, strengthens routine immunization, and improves health behaviors to help populations maintain immunity.
One of the major challenges PCI faced was mistrust of the polio vaccine within local communities, mainly due to a myth that the Indian government was using the vaccine to sterilize young men.
PCI interventions focus on raising awareness about the risk of polio infections among populations living in high-risk areas and motivating them to ensure every child under five years of age receives the polio vaccine.
To support these efforts, PCI deploys over 520 Community Mobilization Coordinators at a grassroots level who share information and education about the disease, transmission, and vaccine at the doorsteps of caregiver homes and in organized, community mothers’ meeting on a regular basis. The project also includes in-school activities by which children are educated on the benefits of the polio vaccine and the polio vaccination schedule. The students are also encouraged to become immunization champions in their homes and communities.
Beyond working directly with beneficiaries, PCI strengthens national and regional immunization systems by supporting frontline health workers responsible for community outreach, monitoring routine immunizations, and collaborating with various stakeholders, including local gatekeepers and religious leaders.
Using a mobile van, PCI organizes awareness campaigns to provide comprehensive communication and education across all the districts. PCI supports social mobilization activities, polio education in primary schools, and children’s rallies before the vaccination day to create awareness and polio vaccine acceptance among the community. Additionally, a mobile van goes to district and block headquarters and high-risk areas with loudspeaker announcements on polio and immunizations followed by Nukkad Nataks, street plays, and puppet shows.
Success Through Partnerships
PCI implements evidence-based social mobilization approaches and coordinates with the district government officials, local/international non-governmental organization representatives such as the World Health Organization, UNICEF, Rotary International, and local health authorities to monitor the spread of the virus and strengthen routine immunization services.