Online Program

When global and local clash: Lessons from the global polio eradication program

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 9:30 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.

Thomas Abraham, MA, Journalism and Media Studies Centre, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
The polio eradication program is one of the most ambitious health programs the world has embarked on. Since it's launch in 1988, it has seen remarkable successes: large parts of the world are now free of the disease, and the poliovirus is largely confined to a handful of districts in three countries: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. But these successes are overshadowed by political, social and cultural difficulties (as well as scientific difficulties) in eradicating the poliovirus from these last few pockets. The difficulties that the polio programs faces in completing “the last inch” towards eradication, provide valuable lessons in understanding the wider social, cultural and political environment in which risk communication occurs. This presentation will explore three specific aspects of the wider socio-cultural environment that have a wider relevance to other disease control and health intervention. These are: 1) The gap between global and local perceptions of risk; 2) The gap between global program delivery needs and local cultural and social norms; 3) The clash between religious beliefs and bio-medicine. The presentation will examine these issues and offer suggestions on how to understand and negotiate them.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Assess differences in perspective between global and national health campaigns and local priorities and social norms. Discuss ways to bridge these gaps using risk communication principles. Formulate communication strategies that are sensitive to local social and political environments.

Keyword(s): Risk Communication, Health Communications

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been working in the area of health risk communication since 2004 and have published and conducted training programs in this area. I am currently working on a book on the global polio eradciation program.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.