Volume 101, Issue 4_Suppl
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



The last case of wild poliovirus in Ethiopia was reported in 2014. Until the disease is eradicated globally, the risk of reimportation remains high. In 1999, the CORE Group Polio Project (CGPP) began its community-centered polio eradication efforts in Ethiopia, using community volunteers (CVs) to ensure that no child has missed polio vaccine. This article documents the efforts of CVs and highlights innovative strategies, successes, and contributions. Qualitative data were collected from the CGPP implementation areas in 85 border (districts) of Benishangul-Gumuz; Gambella; Oromia; Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region; and Somali. A total of 151 in-depth interviews were conducted with CVs, parents, CGPP partners, and project stakeholders. Results of the study showed that CVs secured the buy-in of community members through open and fair eligibility and selection processes, thereby ensuring representation of community needs and perspectives. Community-driven participation consisted of identifying and choosing credible, trusted individuals who were willing to actively engage as caretakers of the community. Community volunteers then received specialized training and supportive supervision to build and expand their command of child health and vaccination information and interpersonal skills, fortifying the legitimacy of health messages and supporting the community’s sense of collective efficacy. The robust network of CVs built by the CGPP continues to effectively reach the most remote, rugged, and underserved areas of Ethiopia. Stakeholders credit the CGPP with playing a significant role in keeping Ethiopia polio-free and increasing the population coverage of polio and routine immunizations.

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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  • Received : 12 Jan 2019
  • Accepted : 09 Jun 2019
  • Published online : 03 Oct 2019

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