U-Report Uganda and Polio Campaigns

Launched: January 2016


Polio is a highly infectious disease that enters the body through the mouth in water or food contaminated with faecal material from an infected person. The disease spreads rapidly in unimmunized or inadequately immunized populations, especially children. Uganda was first declared polio free in 2006, but outbreaks have been attributed to importations from neighbouring countries and also to a lack of funding and resources for routine immunization coverage. To prevent Polio, the Ministry of Health, WHO, and UNICEF conduct rounds of house-to-house supplemental polio immunisation in specific districts of Uganda. These mass immunisation campaigns do not replace routine immunisation, but aim to reach all children under 5 years with oral vaccine.

Approach

UNICEF Uganda used U-Report to communicate with U-Reporters from specific districts. U-Report is a free social monitoring tool used to strengthen community-led development, engage citizens, and create positive change. 

U-Report first alerted U-Reporters of the campaign:

Hi U-Reporter: MoH house-2-house polio campaign in ur community for all kids under 5 yrs this Sat - Mon, Jan 23-25. If anyone has questions send to 8500.

Responses were labeled and sent to U-Partners for lightweight case management. UNICEF’s partner, The Medical Concierge Group, responded to queries. 

In addition to the awareness campaign from U-Report, UNICEF supported announcements over the radio advertising the details of the campaign in certain districts.

To measure the reach of the radio spots, U-Report then asked U-Reporters:

Have you heard any Polio announcements on the radio during the past weeks? Yes or No

Finally, U-Report asked for confirmation that the campaign was conducted in their area:

Did Polio vaccinators visit ur home to immunise all children under 5 during the recent house 2 house Polio immunisation campaign? Reply Yes or No


Results

The 1,834 responses to the open-ended call for questions fell into 5 main categories with questions like:

Appropriate age groups

Is it advisable to immunize children above 5 years against polio?

At what ages should this polio imminusation start from and end to?

Which age group is encountered with Polio and at what age should one be vaccinated?

Why is polio Vaccine only given to children’s under the age of 5years below?

Signs and symptoms

What are the signs and symptom of polio in a person infected with it?

What're de sign of polio and how long does it take on a child 2 have been seeing or 2 kill a   child and does it affect old people also?

Duration and location

What am i supposed to do if they do not reach my location? or am i supposed to communicate with them to inform them abt my location.

At what time will it be taking place? Are they going to get where to base from cz they may come to some other houses n they may be don’t get them.

Cause

What Causes Polio? Is Polio Inherited Or spread And How?

Is polio reversible once limbs are affected and which microorganism species cause polio?

What are the causes of Polio, and why can't it affect animals? Is it air born diseases, how is transmitted and what can we do to avoid it?

Can polio affect unborn baby in the mother's womb? If yes, what cause it?.

Vaccine side effects

Hi, some mothers say they are scared of these injections becoz at times they cause bad side effects on a child, such as swelling on the injected part.

Don't these vaccines have side effects? I hear they are expired

What is vaccines are given to these kids and dont they have any as in any side effects to children?


79% or U-Reporters heard the radio advertisements. UNICEF Uganda conducted additional analysis to determine the top 2 radio stations U-Reporters reported, by district, to measure the penetration of radio advertising.

Voices of U-Reporters

“Yes i heard. And it’s already done in my area. It ended peacefully, where 95% of the children of age 0-5years were immunised.” (U-Reporter from Kasese District)

“Yes and the health worker team immunised children in my community and it lasts for three days” (U-Reporter from Iganga District)

“Yes and my request is that the govnt find a way of doing away with malaria” (U-Reporter from Masindi District)

“No I don't heard that because l am deaf” (U-Reporter from Kampala)

“No i rarely listen to radio.” (U-Reporter from Wakiso District)


72% of U-Reporters confirmed vaccinators visited their home during the campaign.

“Yes, even 4 cousins of mine were immunised” (U-Reporter from Kampala District)

“Yes, they visited Our Home and Vaccinated All Children Under 5years.” (U-Reporter from Nebbi District)

“Yes! But my worry's my son is just 9months and on 22-01-2016.Has taken for Measles vaccination. Again on 23-01-2016 they came for Polio, and is that not goin to harm” (U-Reporter from Oyam District)

“Yes and Thnx for the Good Work. Well Done Guys”. (U-Reporter from Kabale District)

“No Am in Nansana wakiso district in a place commonly known as Kinyarwanda but i didn't see them” (U-Reporter from Wakiso District)

“NO. THEY WERE COMPLAINING OF TIME GIVEN”. (U-Reporter from Kyenjojo District)

“No, i heard of them but none reached my home.”

“No, but they recommended us to go to a nearby health centre for immunisation.” (U-Reporter from Arua District)

Next Steps

The data collected during this round of vaccination will be used to inform the planning for subsequent rounds of the campaign. UNICEF Uganda may include additional sensitisation messages that answer frequently asked questions, alter the content of radio advertisements and the stations used to broadcast them, consider supplementary forms of mass media, and follow-up with house-to-house vaccinators where vaccination was not reported.

Conclusion

UNICEF Uganda and partners used U-Report to engage the youth of Uganda, inform them of Polio vaccinations in their community, answer questions, measure the reach of radio advertisements, and confirm the presence of those vaccinators. This series of U-Report polls and messages will improve the effectiveness and reach of Polio vaccination, improve government accountability, leading to accelerated results for children.