The CORE Group Partners Project in North East Nigeria: Community Engagement Strategies to Combat Skepticism and Build Trust for Vaccine Acceptance

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2019 Oct;101(4_Suppl):68-73. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.19-0143.


In North East Nigeria, anti-immunization rumors and sentiments have negatively impacted the country's polio eradication efforts. Since 2014, the CORE Group Partners Project (CGPP) has leveraged local-level strategies to help change prevailing attitudes and behaviors by improving immunization acceptability in some of the most difficult settlements in Nigeria's states at highest risk for polio. The CGPP's communication model in Nigeria, in part, emphasizes the need to counter suspicion and address myths and misunderstandings by convening community dialogs and compound meetings, both of which serve as safe spaces for open discussion primarily aimed at addressing non-compliance. In the communities in Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Borno, and Yobe states located in the CGPP implementation areas, there has been a consistent reduction in the number of missed children and consistent improvement in polio immunization uptake, providing evidence of the effectiveness of the CGPP communication model. The last case of wild poliovirus in Nigeria was detected in August 2016. Since Nigeria has gone more than 3 years without a case of wild poliovirus, the CGPP communication model promises to remain highly relevant in sustaining the community's awareness about immunizations that will be required to keep the population coverage of polio immunization high and, by extension, the herd immunity required to maintain zero transmission of poliovirus in Nigeria. This article describes the various strategies used to address noncompliance and provides examples of community engagement in Yobe state, which is one of the project's largest implementation areas.

MeSH terms

  • Community Participation / methods*
  • Community Participation / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs / methods
  • Immunization Programs / organization & administration*
  • Male
  • Nigeria
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Poliomyelitis / prevention & control*
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Oral / administration & dosage
  • Trust*
  • Vaccination / psychology*
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data


  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Oral