Legacy of Polio-Use of India's Social Mobilization Network for Strengthening of the Universal Immunization Program in India

J Infect Dis. 2017 Jul 1;216(suppl_1):S260-S266. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jix068.


The Social Mobilization Network (SMNet) has been lauded as one of the most successsful community engagement strategies in public health for its role in polio elimination in India. The UNICEF-managed SMNet was created as a strategy to eradicate polio by engaging >7000 frontline social mobilizers to advocate for vaccination in some of the most underserved, marginalized, and at-risk communities in India. This network focused initially on generating demand for polio vaccination but later expanded its messaging to promote routine immunization and other health and sanitation interventions related to maternal and children's health. As an impact of the network's interventions, in collaboration with other eradication efforts, these high-risk pockets witnessed an increase in full routine immunization coverage. The experience of the SMNet offers lessons for health-system strengthening for social mobilization and promoting positive health behaviors for other priority health programs like the Universal Immunization Program.

Keywords: Polio Legacy; Social Mobilization Network (SMNet); System Strengthening; Universal Immunization Program (UIP).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Personnel*
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs*
  • India
  • Poliomyelitis / prevention & control*
  • Public Health
  • Social Networking*