Assessing the impact of polio supplementary immunisation activities on routine immunisation and health systems: A systematic review

Amy Vassallo, Kimberly Dunbar, Busayo Ajuwon, Christopher Lowbridge, Martyn Kirk, Catherine King, Meru Sheel

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Introduction The Global Polio Eradication Initiative uses polio supplementary immunisation activities (SIAs) as a strategy to increase vaccine coverage and cease poliovirus transmission. Impact of polio SIAs on immunisation systems is frequently debated. We reviewed the impact of polio SIAs on routine immunisation and health systems during the modern era of polio eradication. Methods We searched nine databases for studies reporting on polio SIAs and immunisation coverage, financial investment, workforce and health services delivery. We conducted a narrative synthesis of evidence. Records prior to 1994, animal, modelling or case studies data were excluded. Results 20/1637 unique records were included. Data on vaccine coverage were included in 70% (14/20) studies, workforce in 65% (13/20) and health services delivery in 85% (17/20). SIAs positively contributed to vaccination uptake of non-polio vaccines in seven studies, neutral in three and negative in one. Some polio SIAs contributed to workforce strengthening through training and capacity building. Polio SIAs were accompanied with increased social mobilisation and community awareness building confidence in vaccination programmes. Included studies were programmatic in nature and contained variable data, thus could not be justly critically appraised. Conclusion Polio SIAs are successful at increasing polio vaccine coverage, but the resources and infrastructures were not always utilised for delivery of non-polio vaccines and integration into routine service delivery. We found a gap in standardised tools to evaluate SIAs, which can then inform service integration. Our study provides data to inform SIAs evaluations, and provides important considerations for COVID-19 vaccine roll-out to strengthen health systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere006568
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalBMJ Global Health
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2021


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