News Flash 568: Weekly Snapshot of Public Health Challenges

News Flash Links, as part of the research project PEAH (Policies for Equitable Access to Health), aim to focus on the latest challenges by trade and governments rules to equitable access to health in resource-limited settings

Saddled seabream (Oblada melanura)

News Flash 568

Weekly Snapshot of Public Health Challenges


Strategic Disinvestments in Health: Panacea or Mirage?

An Introduction to the Impact Disclosure Guidance

Inflated and distorted: preliminary 2023 aid figures show failure to address global challenges

Poorest countries continue to lose out as wealthy donors pocket their own aid, according to latest OECD data

Meeting registration: Nyeleni Dialouge on Food Sovereignty and Health Apr 24, 2024

India’s elections: why data and transparency matter

Dialogues and Episodes from TDR Global Health Matters podcast

African-led clinical research needs pharma buy-in

Is brain drain limiting Africa’s genomics potential?

In world first, Nigeria introduces new 5-in-1 vaccine against meningitis

As Gavi plans next five-year strategy, it must do more to get vaccines to people excluded from vaccination

COVID-19 vaccine strain updates: Global regulators agree on timing and data requirements

Long-Acting Drugs May Revolutionize H.I.V. Prevention and Treatment

To End AIDS, We Must Reclaim Our Unyielding Pursuit of Equity

Peru’s dengue deaths triple as climate change swells mosquito population

TDR: Join our 22 April 2024 symposium at the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) Society’s 8th Pan-African Malaria Conference


At least four African nations withdraw child cough syrup over toxicity fears

MPP and Ferring sign Memorandum of Understanding that includes a conditional licence agreement for heat-stable carbetocin


After a year of war in Sudan, a rapid scale up of response is needed to avoid catastrophe

Ultra-processed food, a “corporate diet”

Nearly 55 million face hunger in West and Central Africa, UN warns

Conflict’s Long Shadow Has a Name: It’s Hunger

World Bank, AfDB aim to bring electricity to 300 million Africans

Climate Shocks, Adaptation, and Well-Being in Ghana: A Mixed Methods Study

Clean Air Makes Economic Sense, Says Influential Group Ahead of World Bank Spring Meetings

Our ocean is bearing the brunt of the climate crisis. Greater protection is urgently needed

World leaders call on nations to swiftly ratify U.N. ocean treaty

How rainwater harvesting has become a lifesaver in Bangladesh







News Flash 567: Weekly Snapshot of Public Health Challenges

News Flash Links, as part of the research project PEAH (Policies for Equitable Access to Health), aim to focus on the latest challenges by trade and governments rules to equitable access to health in resource-limited settings

Conger eel (Conger conger)

News Flash 567

Weekly Snapshot of Public Health Challenges


Webinar registration: No Treaty Without Equity: Drawing Red Lines to the Pandemic Instrument Apr 16, 2024

Applications open for ODI’s Fellowship Scheme. Applications close on 30 April

WHO: Public health round-up

Three decades of progress and setbacks since the first international conference on population and development

People’s Health Dispatch Bulletin #73: 5th People’s Health Assembly focuses on war’s toll amidst Gaza crisis

Kwibuka30: Learning from the Past, Safeguarding the Future Against Genocide

IFIC ANNUAL SURVEY 2024: Position paper on person and people centred care in the context of integrated care

Uganda tweaked its anti-gay law just to get donor cash, activists say

EU’s historic migration pact passes amidst divisions and far-right fears

Pushing Forward for Gender Equity in Health

Surviving sexual violence in the camps of Benue

Consensus in times of disagreement: Vienna resolution on children’s pain relief

Tanzania Merges HIV and Diabetes Care to Tackle NCD Crisis

Future HIV epidemic trajectories in South Africa and projected long-term consequences of reductions in general population HIV testing: a mathematical modelling study

Why is cholera killing thousands in southern Africa?

Hospital infections kill hundreds of thousands in sub-Saharan Africa, research shows

WHO sounds alarm on viral hepatitis infections claiming 3500 lives each day

Stigma Prevents Europeans Living with Hepatitis B and C From Telling Families and Getting Care

Message by the Director of the Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals at WHO – March 2024

Beyond the “Gavi-Eligible”: High-Leverage Opportunities for Gavi to Enhance Vaccine Access and Uptake in Ineligible Middle-Income Countries

New Dengue Vaccine Trials Show Promise in Brazil as Cases Continue to Rise

Decisive Action Needed to Stop Cervical Cancer Deaths

De Wet Swanepoel: using digital technologies to improve access to hearing health

Inside the push to make intellectual property work for African pharma

Houses made of waste changing lives in South America

The Triple Impact of Cleanliness: Environmental, Mental, and Societal Health

UN officials in Zambia to assess worst drought in 20 years

Unwrapping Africa’s food packaging problems

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International court rules Switzerland violated human rights in landmark climate case brought by 2,000 women

Global rainforest loss continues at rate of 10 football pitches a minute

Just 57 companies linked to 80% of greenhouse gas emissions since 2016

Over 80% of the EU’s farming subsidies support emissions-intensive animal products – new study






News Flash 566: Weekly Snapshot of Public Health Challenges

News Flash Links, as part of the research project PEAH (Policies for Equitable Access to Health), aim to focus on the latest challenges by trade and governments rules to equitable access to health in resource-limited settings

Salema (Sarpa salpa)

News Flash 566

Weekly Snapshot of Public Health Challenges


Webinar registration: High-level dialogue between the WHO Director-General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: ‘Realizing the Right to Health in a world in turmoil’ Apr 8, 2024

Meeting registration: A stronger role for the World Health Organization in addressing climate and health justice? Apr 25, 2024

WHO unveils a digital health promoter harnessing generative AI for public health

Statement: African and European CSOs on key issues in the AU-EU Partnership

Pandemic (Dis) Agreement Talks Limp into Extra Time

Financing Our Future In The Pandemic Agreement And International Health Regulations

Local doesn’t mean low cost: Serum Institute shares global scale-up plans

High risk, high reward: Gavi’s investment in Africa vaccine production

Mpox: Is the World Failing the Next Pandemic Preparedness Litmus Test?

Continued Mpox Outbreak Leads US to Re-examine Smallpox Readiness

DNDi R&D Portfolio in Review

Sierra Leone: National TB Programme letter to Danaher to reduce the price of GeneXpert test

Belarus: National TB Programme letter to Danaher to reduce the price of GeneXpert test

Diabetes – a marker of health inequities

Mental and physical health morbidity among people in prisons: an umbrella review

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The Hidden Costs of War in Syria: Assessing the Impact on Children’s Development and Mental Health

Maximizing the Benefits of Health Worker Mobility: Lessons from New WHO Guidance


Eastern DRC ‘at breaking point’ as security, humanitarian crises worsen

DR Congo appoints 1st female prime minister

Humanitarian aid needs more focus on tackling gender based violence, urges UNFPA director

Why EU information campaigns are failing to deter migrants from leaving

UN report says households waste 1 billion meals daily

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European Environment Agency publishes a first EU Climate Risk Assessment Report

Zimbabwe Declares Drought a National Disaster, Millions Face Hunger

Putting the ‘just’ in Just Energy Transition Partnerships: What role for the multilateral development banks?











News Flash 565: Weekly Snapshot of Public Health Challenges

News Flash Links, as part of the research project PEAH (Policies for Equitable Access to Health), aim to focus on the latest challenges by trade and governments rules to equitable access to health in resource-limited settings

Flying gurnard (Dactylopterus volitans)

News Flash 565

Weekly Snapshot of Public Health Challenges


People’s Health Dispatch Bulletin #72: Palestinian health workers inspire global health community

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Conference registration: IDEAs International Conference: African Debt Crisis and the International Financial Architecture 27-29th March 2024


Pandemic Proof Is Back for Season 2

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World TB Day Bulletin

New Technology Enables Philippines to Bring Tuberculosis Diagnosis Closer to People

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KFF Dashboard: Progress Toward Global Tuberculosis Targets in USAID TB Priority Countries


‘Protect Bats’: Scientists Call for ‘Ecological Approaches’ to Prevent Pandemics

WHO launches CoViNet: a global network for coronaviruses

Meeting registration: The Impact of Climate Change on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs): Examples from FAIRMED’s work in Chad and Nepal Mar 28, 2024

Cholera Kills At Least 54 in Somalia; Humanitarians Call for Action

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New MSF costing study in JAMA reveals dramatic markup on prices of new diabetes medicines and insulin pens

‘Time for Five’ coalition launches global petition targeting medical test maker Cepheid and parent corporation Danaher

It’s Time for $5: Why are these lifesaving tests out of reach for so many people?

Impact of Digital Health on the Management of Infectious Diseases: Lessons Learned during the COVID-19 Pandemic  by Nicolas Castillo

No easy answers in shift away from animal-based foods

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Parents Harness Pedal and Wind Power To Demand Climate Action

Snapshots: The fight against wildfires

Future of 1bn people in South Asia hinges on water pact

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Impact of Digital Health on the Management of Infectious Diseases: Lessons Learned during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Author's note
This article examines the impact of digital health on the management of infectious diseases, focusing on lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic. It highlights the rapid expansion of telemedicine and virtual consultations, as well as the crucial role of contact tracing applications in containing the spread of the virus. Additionally, it analyzes the use of big data and predictive analytics to understand and predict the dynamics of the pandemic. Future challenges and opportunities in the implementation of digital health solutions, as well as the importance of public education and awareness, are discussed. In conclusion, the transformative role of digital health in the global response to infectious diseases is acknowledged, emphasizing the need to continue learning and adapting to address future health crises

By Nicolás Castillo

 Biochemical. Private Laboratory Santa Clara de Saguier Sanatorium, Santa Fe, Argentina 

 Impact of Digital Health on the Management of Infectious Diseases

Lessons Learned during the COVID-19 Pandemic




The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the critical importance of digital health in the management of infectious diseases. In this context, telemedicine, contact tracing applications, big data analysis, and public education have emerged as fundamental pillars in combating the virus spread and ensuring continuity of medical care. This article examines the impact of digital health during the pandemic, highlighting lessons learned and outlining future directions for the management of infectious diseases.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine and virtual consultations became essential tools to ensure continuous access to medical care. The expansion of telemedicine allowed patients to receive medical attention without exposing themselves to the risk of contagion in clinical settings. This mode of care has not only proven effective in providing primary care and patient follow-up but has also promoted greater convenience and accessibility for users.

In parallel, contact tracing applications played a crucial role in containing COVID-19 outbreaks. These tools utilized geolocation and Bluetooth technology to identify and notify individuals who were exposed to the virus, thereby facilitating a rapid and effective response to mitigate virus spread. However, their effectiveness was hampered by challenges related to data privacy and widespread adoption by the population.

Big data analysis emerged as a powerful tool to understand the pandemic’s dynamics and guide public health interventions. By integrating epidemiological, mobility, and socioeconomic data, researchers could identify transmission patterns and anticipate virus spread, thereby informing decision-making on health policies. However, the collection and management of large volumes of data posed ethical and legal challenges, highlighting the need for robust safeguards to protect individuals’ privacy.

Public Education and Awareness

Digital health also played a crucial role in public education and awareness about COVID-19. Through online platforms and social media, accurate and updated information on preventive measures, symptoms of the disease, and access to health services was disseminated. However, the proliferation of online information also led to the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories, underscoring the importance of promoting digital literacy and ensuring access to reliable sources of information.


The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital health in the management of infectious diseases but has also revealed significant challenges that must be addressed to maximize its effectiveness. The digital divide, data privacy, and online misinformation are just some of the areas that require ongoing attention to ensure an equitable and effective response to future public health crises. At the same time, the pandemic has generated unprecedented momentum for innovation in digital health, offering opportunities to improve accessibility, efficiency, and equity in medical care. 


In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the landscape of infectious disease management, highlighting the critical role of digital health in this area. By learning from the lessons of the pandemic and addressing outstanding challenges, we can harness the potential of digital health to strengthen preparedness and response to future health threats. It is essential to continue innovating and collaborating in the development of digital solutions that enhance the health and well-being of populations worldwide.


[PMID: 33053287] – Smith, A. C., Thomas, E., Snoswell, C. L., Haydon, H., Mehrotra, A., Clemensen, J., & Caffery, L. J. (2020). Telehealth for global emergencies: Implications for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Journal of telemedicine and telecare, 26(5), 309-313.

[PMID: 32819220] – Hellewell, J., Abbott, S., Gimma, A., Bosse, N. I., Jarvis, C. I., Russell, T. W., … & Kucharski, A. J. (2020). Feasibility of controlling COVID-19 outbreaks by isolation of cases and contacts. The Lancet Global Health, 8(4), e488-e496.

[PMID: 33032487] – Ferretti, L., Wymant, C., Kendall, M., Zhao, L., Nurtay, A., Abeler-Dörner, L., … & Fraser, C. (2020). Quantifying SARS-CoV-2 transmission suggests epidemic control with digital contact tracing. Science, 368(6491).

[PMID: 33046876] – Koonin, L. M., Hoots, B., Tsang, C. A., Leroy, Z., Farris, K., Jolly, B., … & Harris, A. M. (2020). Trends in the use of telehealth during the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic—United States, January–March 2020. MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 69(43), 1595.

[PMID: 32354899] – Li, L., Xu, G., & Wang, H. (2020). Lessons from the experience in Wuhan to reduce risk of COVID-19 infection in patients undergoing long-term hemodialysis. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 15(5), 717-719.

[PMID: 33210924] – Joensen, L. E., Madsen, K. P., Holm, L., Nielsen, K. A., Rod, M. H., Petersen, A. A., … & Willaing, I. (2020). Diabetes and COVID-19: psychosocial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in people with diabetes in Denmark—what characterizes people with high levels of COVID-19-related worries? Diabet Med; 37(7): 1146-1154.




Scientific Perspectives on Climate Change and its Influence on the Spread of Infectious Diseases

Rapid Diagnosis of Dengue: a Crucial Tool in Global Healthcare

Preparing for the Future: The Vitality of an Effective Testing Strategy in Future Pandemics 

The Positive Impact of Artificial Intelligence in Future Pandemics 

The Value of Communication in a Pandemic 

Epidemiological Surveillance in Pandemics

Population Aging, a Challenge for Public Health in Latin America and the World



News Flash 564: Weekly Snapshot of Public Health Challenges

News Flash Links, as part of the research project PEAH (Policies for Equitable Access to Health), aim to focus on the latest challenges by trade and governments rules to equitable access to health in resource-limited settings

Grooved helmet (Semicassis granulata undulata)

News Flash 564

Weekly Snapshot of Public Health Challenges


McGill Summer Institutes in Global Health Course: Reimagining Global Health | May 21-24, 2024

Call for urgent agreement on international deal to prepare for and prevent future pandemics

New Report Examines Progress on Global Sustainable Development Goals

Corruption—Standing in the Way of Effective Public Financial Management for Health?

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UNICEF says over 13,000 children killed in Gaza in Israel offensive

Congo faces unprecedented crisis as violence displaces 250,000 in the last month, a UN official says


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MSF calls for emergency stockpile of Ebola treatments ten years after world’s deadliest outbreak 

Africans Can Solve the Disease that Haunts Us — Here’s How

WHO Assurance on Drug Resistance to Key HIV Drug, Dolutegravir; New Trial Shows Promise With TB Treatment

Advancing PrEP Access And Utilization For Black Women And Girls

Immunization Programs and Health Services  by Francisco Becerra-Posada 

Empowering Gray House Communities Towards Vaccination Efforts: Navigating Fake Vaccination, Mobilizing Influencers, and Cultivating Trust  by Muhammad Noman

Sudan to Start Polio Immunisation as Six African Countries Detect Virus

WHO and Gavi’s global push for HPV vaccines gathers momentum

Pioneering Partnerships: The mRNA Technology Transfer Programme Inks Groundbreaking mRNA Vaccine R&D Consortia at Singapore Scientific Colloquium

Africa Tackles Rising Obesity with Joint Initiative

Europe needs to step up circular economy efforts: EU agency

Back-to-back climate disasters leave millions of Malawians in deepening need

UN weather agency issues ‘red alert’ on climate change after record heat

Only 10 Countries Had Healthy Air Quality in 2023, Report Finds

Climate change is speeding up in Antarctica










Empowering Gray House Communities Towards Vaccination Efforts

Author's note
This paper addresses the challenges faced in reaching Gray House children, residing in underserved areas such as urban slums and remote villages, during crucial vaccination campaigns. It discusses factors like vaccine hesitancy, logistical hurdles, and resistance to mandatory vaccination, proposing tailored communication strategies involving community engagement, influencer collaboration, and misinformation mitigation. Additionally, it emphasizes the significance of building trust, countering misinformation, and engaging diverse stakeholders to advance polio eradication efforts. The paper outlines strategies for effective communication, combating fake vaccination practices, and leveraging female influencers, providing a comprehensive framework for successful vaccination campaigns. It also presents a content framework, budget allocation strategy, and outreach plan, emphasizing adaptability and continuous improvement. Furthermore, the paper underscores the importance of evaluating campaign effectiveness and adjusting strategies accordingly to enhance vaccine uptake and accelerate progress towards polio eradication, promoting inclusivity, collaboration, and impact measurement

By Muhammad Noman

Healthcare System, CHIP Training and Consulting

Quetta, Balochistan Pakistan

Empowering Gray House Communities Towards Vaccination Efforts

 Navigating Fake Vaccination, Mobilizing Influencers, and Cultivating Trust




In the pursuit of global health equity, Gray House children, residing in marginalized urban areas and remote villages, often face significant barriers to accessing vital healthcare services, including vaccinations against diseases like polio. Despite concerted efforts to eradicate polio, these children remain disproportionately affected due to socioeconomic factors and logistical challenges. Understanding the complex interplay of these factors is essential for designing targeted communication strategies to ensure that no child is left behind in the fight against polio. This paper explores the challenges faced in urban communities, the logistical hurdles of mobility, and the imperative for tailored communication strategies to effectively reach Gray House children. Additionally, it delves into the resistance to mandatory vaccination, the role of community leaders in dispelling misconceptions, and the necessity of countering fake vaccination practices. Through collaborative efforts and innovative communication approaches, stakeholders can move closer to the goal of polio eradication while safeguarding the health and well-being of vulnerable populations.

Understanding Gray House Children

Gray House children, residing in areas with limited healthcare access like urban slums and remote villages, are often overlooked in vaccination campaigns. Designing targeted communication strategies to reach them requires an understanding of the socioeconomic factors contributing to their invisibility.

Challenges in Urban Communities

Urban areas face a lack of awareness about polio vaccination importance, exacerbated by misinformation and rumours. This contributes to vaccine hesitancy, making it challenging to achieve high vaccination coverage.

Logistical Challenges of Mobility

The transient nature of urban populations poses logistical challenges for vaccination teams, resulting in missed opportunities for vaccination and gaps in coverage, especially among marginalized populations.

Tailored Communication Strategies

Engaging community leaders and utilizing mobile health clinics can facilitate dialogue and improve access to vaccination services in urban areas. Tailored communication strategies are crucial to ensuring that no child is left behind in the fight against polio.

Resistance to Mandatory Vaccination

Administrative pressure to administer polio doses sometimes leads to resistance among families in cities. Improved communication and trust-building efforts are necessary to address this reluctance and encourage participation in vaccination campaigns.

Engaging Community Leaders

Engaging with community leaders, religious figures, and influencers is vital to dispel misconceptions and build confidence in vaccination campaigns, ultimately encouraging families to participate willingly in immunization efforts.

Communication Challenges

Various obstacles hinder efforts to reach Gray House children and tackle fake vaccination concerns. These obstacles encompass language barriers, low literacy rates, and distrust in healthcare authorities, compounded by misinformation disseminated through social media and community networks. Cultural and religious beliefs also contribute to vaccine hesitancy, adding layers of complexity to communication endeavours.

Customized Communication Strategies

Effective engagement with Gray House children and the mitigation of fake vaccination concerns necessitate customized communication strategies. These strategies should address language barriers by utilizing multilingual materials and interpreters. Moreover, initiatives to enhance health literacy within communities, particularly in urban slums and remote areas, are imperative.

Building Trust and Countering Misinformation

Establishing trust in healthcare authorities through transparent and respectful communication is paramount. Simultaneously, countering misinformation with accurate and credible information is essential. Engaging religious leaders and community influencers to advocate for vaccination from a culturally sensitive perspective can help address underlying cultural and religious beliefs.

Moving Towards Polio Eradication

By addressing these communication challenges head-on, stakeholders can bolster vaccination uptake and advance toward the ultimate goal of polio eradication. Efforts to bridge communication gaps and foster trust within marginalized communities are integral to achieving success in immunization campaigns and safeguarding public health.

Strategies for Effective Communication

Effective communication strategies are essential for engaging with Gray House children and combating fake vaccination practices. These strategies should be culturally sensitive, community-driven, and inclusive of diverse stakeholders, including religious leaders, community influencers, and healthcare workers. Leveraging interpersonal communication, door-to-door outreach, and community mobilization efforts can help build trust and rapport with marginalized communities.

Engaging Community Influencers

Community influencers, including religious leaders, community elders, and local celebrities, wield significant influence in shaping public opinion and behavior, particularly concerning vaccination. Collaborating with these influencers can amplify pro-vaccination messages and combat misinformation within communities. Religious leaders, in particular, can leverage their authority to promote vaccination from a religious standpoint, addressing misconceptions and fostering vaccine acceptance among their followers. By involving a diverse array of influencers, stakeholders can effectively reach and mobilize communities to prioritize routine immunization, thereby advancing public health goals.

Healthcare Professionals as Influencers

Furthermore, healthcare professionals, such as child specialists, gynaecologists, and Lady Health Visitors (LHVs), serve as influential figures in promoting routine immunization. During check-ups, child specialists can educate families about the importance of vaccinations, addressing any concerns and emphasizing the health benefits for children. Similarly, gynaecologists and LHVs play crucial roles in educating pregnant women about vaccinations, including the Tetanus Toxoid (TT) injection and routine immunizations for their unborn child’s health. Leveraging the expertise and credibility of healthcare professionals as influencers can enhance awareness and uptake of vaccinations within communities.

Combatting Fake Vaccination Practices

Fake vaccination practices pose a grave threat to public health and undermine the integrity of polio eradication efforts. These practices encompass various deceitful tactics, such as falsifying vaccination records, distributing counterfeit vaccines, and coercing parents into refusing vaccination for their children. Addressing this issue demands a multifaceted approach that encompasses several key strategies.

Firstly, there is a pressing need to strengthen regulatory oversight to prevent the proliferation of fake vaccination schemes. This involves implementing stringent regulations and monitoring mechanisms to ensure the authenticity and safety of vaccines administered during vaccination campaigns.

Secondly, enhancing surveillance systems is paramount in detecting and responding to instances of fake vaccination promptly. Robust surveillance mechanisms can help identify areas or communities vulnerable to fake vaccination practices, allowing for targeted interventions and resource allocation.

Furthermore, promoting transparency and accountability within vaccination campaigns is essential for building public trust and confidence. Transparency in vaccine procurement, distribution, and administration processes can help dispel doubts and rumors surrounding vaccination efforts, while accountability mechanisms hold stakeholders accountable for their actions.

By implementing these strategies in tandem, stakeholders can effectively combat fake vaccination practices and safeguard the integrity of polio eradication initiatives, thereby ensuring the health and well-being of communities at risk.

Content Framework

Craft compelling messages emphasizing the importance of polio vaccination, addressing common misconceptions, and highlighting the benefits of immunization.

Budget Allocation

Allocate resources for influencer collaborations, content creation, and campaign monitoring, ensuring cost-effectiveness and maximum reach.

Identifying Influencers

Identifying influential figures within the community is crucial for effectively communicating vaccination messages and combating misinformation. Religious leaders, local celebrities, healthcare professionals, and community organizers are among the key influencers who can play a significant role in promoting vaccination. These influencers often have a wide reach and can effectively communicate the importance of vaccination to their followers and communities.

Religious leaders, in particular, hold significant influence over their congregations and can use their platform to dispel myths and misconceptions about vaccination. They can also emphasize the religious importance of protecting oneself and others from preventable diseases, aligning vaccination efforts with religious values and teachings.

Local celebrities are another influential group that can help promote vaccination. Their endorsement of vaccination can reach a broad audience and help counter misinformation spread through social media and other channels. Healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, are trusted sources of information about vaccination and can provide accurate information to patients and communities.

Community organizers and leaders play a crucial role in mobilizing communities and raising awareness about vaccination campaigns. They can help identify and address barriers to vaccination, such as access issues or cultural beliefs, and ensure that vaccination efforts are inclusive and effective.

In addition to religious leaders and local celebrities, engaging female influencers such as teachers, lady doctors, and Lady Health Visitors (LHVs) can significantly impact vaccination uptake and combat misinformation. Female influencers hold unique positions of trust and authority within their communities, making them valuable assets in promoting vaccination campaigns.

Female teachers, as educators and role models, have direct access to children and their families. They can integrate vaccination messages into school curricula, conduct awareness sessions for parents, and address concerns about immunization in a familiar and trusted environment.

Lady doctors and healthcare professionals play a pivotal role in dispelling myths and fears surrounding vaccination. Their expertise and empathy enable them to address concerns effectively, provide accurate information, and encourage families to prioritize vaccination for their children’s health and well-being.

Lady Health Visitors (LHVs) are frontline healthcare workers who have established relationships with families in their communities. They provide essential maternal and child health services, making them trusted sources of information on vaccination. LHVs can conduct home visits, organize community events, and offer one-on-one counselling to promote vaccine acceptance and address any concerns or misconceptions.

Child specialists, including paediatricians and child psychologists, are also influential in promoting routine immunization. Their expertise in child health and development allows them to tailor vaccination messages to resonate with parents and caregivers. By emphasizing the benefits of vaccination for children’s long-term health and well-being, child specialists can motivate families to prioritize immunization.

Incorporating these influencers into vaccination campaigns can enhance community engagement, increase vaccine acceptance, and contribute to the success of polio eradication efforts by reaching marginalized populations effectively.


Reach out to selected influencers with a clear proposal outlining the campaign objectives, content requirements, and expected outcomes. Ensure that influencers are aligned with the goals of the campaign and have credibility within their communities.

Launch Phase 1

Implement the initial influencer collaborations, monitoring key metrics such as reach, engagement, and audience response to gauge effectiveness.

Measuring Results

Analyze the impact of the campaign through metrics such as increased vaccination rates, community engagement, and changes in awareness and attitudes towards polio vaccination.

Launch Phase 2

Based on the success of initial collaborations, extend partnerships with influencers who demonstrate strong engagement and influence in their communities.

Adapt and Iterate

Continuously evaluate the campaign’s performance and refine strategies based on feedback and insights gathered from monitoring and evaluation activities. Adjust messaging and tactics as needed to optimize results and address emerging challenges.


In conclusion, addressing the challenges of vaccinating Gray House children in urban areas requires tailored communication strategies and engagement with community influencers. These children, often residing in marginalized communities, face obstacles such as misinformation, logistical challenges, and resistance to vaccination. By engaging religious leaders, healthcare professionals, and community organizers, stakeholders can build trust, dispel misconceptions, and enhance vaccine acceptance. Customized communication strategies, inclusive of diverse stakeholders, are essential for reaching these populations effectively. Moreover, combating fake vaccination practices demands regulatory oversight, surveillance enhancement, and transparency within vaccination campaigns. By leveraging the influence of key influencers and continuously refining communication approaches, stakeholders can advance toward the goal of polio eradication and safeguard public health.




By the same Author on PEAH 

Bridging the Gap: Elevating Preventive Healthcare in Pakistan’s Health Agenda

Polio Eradication Strategies and Challenges: Navigating Hidden Risks

The Gray Houses Polio Eradication Initiative: A Case Study on Identifying and Vaccinating Hidden Children

  Balochistan Primary Healthcare: What Has Been Done and What Needs to Improve?

Decision Makers’ Perception of the Performance and Salary of UC Polio Officers in Pakistan

Polio Eradication Programme in Pakistan: Critical Analysis from 1999 to 2023 

Immunization Programs and Health Services

Author's note
…Outbreaks have costs to the health system, the family, and the patients. Vaccines are cheaper than the costs of epidemiological management, hospitalizations, etc. The support of the system is crucial for reaching protective coverages. Adequate planning, training, coordination, and especially sustained financing are crucial for a functional immunization program.

 By Francisco  Becerra-Posada, MD, MPH, DrPH

 Immunization Programs and Health Services


Most countries have a vaccination program that most probably started as an independent vertical program. There is enough discussion and evidence of the pros and cons of this kind of interventions. Some examples had a positive impact, as the smallpox eradication program, and others failed due to a lack of coordination.[1]

Either way, vertical programs do have to coordinate and use the health services. Health services, as part of the health system, are key for the success of any program. Immunization programs are not the exemption.

When managing immunization programs, coordination is essential for its success. From the planning stage to calculate the demand according to the cohorts, to the logistics and operational issues, it has to coordinate with many instances within the health system. If any of the different areas fails, vaccines do not get to the clinics and people are not vaccinated.

During the pandemic, many preventive programs, and actions, were not available due to closing of clinics, moving health personnel to clinical work to care for COVID-19 patients. However, in many countries’ vaccine coverages were not the desired ones to ensure protection to the population and a decrease of coverage was seen.

However, there are signs of recuperation. WHO states that from 18.1 million children that had zero doses in 2021, decreased to 14.3 million in 2022, close to the pre-pandemic value of 12.9 million in 2019. A slight increase, from 81% in 2021 to 83% in 2022 for measles vaccination, is still below the 2019 value of 86%. Vaccination against DPT (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine) recovered from 81 (2021) to 84% in 2022.[2]

Outbreaks, commonly in countries with weak immunization programs, are now being detected worldwide. There are various outbreaks worldwide and developed and high-income countries are reporting outbreaks. The US has recently reported measles outbreaks in various states.[3] Approaches to deal with them have varied, from very by the book approaches, to an unusual approach in Florida where health authorities diminished the problem.[4] Europe has recently reported a diphtheria outbreak with a focus on the Czech Republic and the first death by the disease since 1969.[5]

Health systems and services are important to ensure that vaccination programs are managed in and efficient and effective way. Cold chain has to be preserved and functional during the whole logistic chain, from the producer to the country, to the clinic, to the person’s arm. Vaccines have to be seen under a vision of life course. Health personnel, be it at the Primary Health Care setting to the specialized care, have a role to play as vaccine promotors. OB/GYN with pregnant women for influenza and diphtheria; internal medicine, cardiologist, pneumologist, with patients with hypertension, diabetes, obesity, should receive influenza vaccines on time.

Outbreaks have costs to the health system, the family, and the patients. Vaccines are cheaper than the costs of epidemiological management, hospitalizations, etc. The support of the system is crucial for reaching protective coverages. Adequate planning, training, coordination, and especially sustained financing are crucial for a functional immunization program.



[1] Cairncross S, Peries H, Cutts F; Vertical health programmes, Lancet 1999; 349 (supl III):20-22

[2] Vaccines and immunization,

[3] Measles Cases and Outbreaks, CDC at

[4] Florida refuses to bar unvaccinated children from school suffering  a measles outbreak

[5] Muerte por Difteria en Praga, república Checa. (in Spanish)


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