World Polio Day 2023 WHO AFRO Communications Toolkit

The big catch-up towards polio eradication in the African Region

Let's take the opportunity of World Polio Day, October 24, to call for action to intensify efforts to end all forms of polio in Africa. Make your voice heard! Tell everyone what vaccines can achieve. Check out the cards, stories and videos in this toolkit for more detailed information.

How to use this toolkit:

You can help amplify critical information on the fight against polio by adding your voice to the conversation in a very simple way: scroll down, read, download content and post using these hashtags: #EndPolio (Primary); #WorldPolioDay; #MakePolioHistory; #EveryLastChild; #VaccinesWork.

Follow and tag relevant partners from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative that will be disseminating this content: @WHOAFRO; @EndPolioNow; @UNICEFpolio; @GatesFoundation; @Rotary; @Gavi; @CDCgov.


Every year on 24 October, we observe World Polio Day to raise awareness of the importance of polio vaccination to protect every child from this devastating disease, and to celebrate the many parents, professionals and volunteers whose contributions make polio eradication achievable.

In August 2020, the African Region accomplished an extraordinary milestone when it was certified free of indigenous wild poliovirus. To maintain this remarkable achievement while continuing the fight against ongoing variant polio outbreaks across the region, WHO AFRO is implementing a comprehensive set of prevention and response activities. These including enhancing routine immunization, implementing supplementary immunization activities, building human resource capacity, providing technical support, strengthening surveillance activities, and improving data and information management (including the use of geospatial technologies). In addition, WHO is leveraging existing polio structures and assets to support other crucial public health priorities.

Our messages:

  • Any unvaccinated person (adult or child) is at risk of being paralysed by polio, as the virus can invade the nervous system and cause paralysis (or even death) within hours.
  • Polio anywhere is a threat everywhere, and continued support is critical for achieving and maintaining optimal immunization coverage and sensitive surveillance to protect children from this preventable disease.
  • The African Region is making steady progress towards halting the transmission of wild polio type 1. It has been more than one year without WPV1 detections, but the job is not yet done.
  • Joint efforts to end polio continue, as 304 polio cases have been laboratory-confirmed in 21 countries in the African Region in the past 10 months.
  • The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) will soon have administered 800 million doses of the novel oral polio vaccine type 2 (nOPV2), designed to more sustainably halt circulating variant polio type 2. Africa leads the way, with 24 countries having introduced nOPV2 to fight polio.
  • Polio is, as of today, the world’s only Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

Our stories:

High-quality cold chain protects polio vaccines for Mozambique’s children
Geraldo Lopes, cold chain operator at Frigotel LDA, is one of the crucial links in the chain to deliver these lifesaving vaccines to children, with Mozambique so far successfully completing seven vaccination rounds since the first case of imported wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) was confirmed in May 2022.
Outbreak response assessments boost polio preparedness, one health facility at a time

Far from being “fault-finding” missions, polio Outbreak Response Assessments offer an opportunity to build country capacity for disease surveillance and preparedness, one health facility at a time, says Dr Sambo Godwin Ishaku, logistics and cold chain officer with World Health Organization (WHO) in Tanzania.

Tanzania recently concluded an Outbreak Response Assessment to evaluate its vaccination and surveillance capacity to detect and halt polio transmission. Ishaku stresses that if health workers are not trained to recognize the signs of diseases such as polio, cases can be easily missed.

Our partners:

  • Thanks, @Rotary! This #WorldPolioDay, the polio programme thanks all the incredible Rotarians who work tirelessly to create a healthier future for children. With rotary´s contribution, 3 billion children globally have been immunized against polio. [Accompanying video]
  • This #WorldPolioDay, @WHOAFRO thanks @Gavi! With their help, we are effectively supporting countries in the African Region to strengthen their immunization & health systems. With Gavi´s continued support, every last child will receive their dose to #EndPolio! [Accompanying image]
  • Thanks, @CDCGov! On this #WorldPolioDay and every other day, we remember that in 1988 polio paralysed about 350,000 people a year. We've seen a reduction of over 99% compared to 1988, and together, we'll reach the last mile & #EndPolio for good. [Accompanying image]
  • Thanks, @UnicefPolio! This #WorldPolioDay, we thank you as a key partner within the Global Polio Eradication Inititative. Together we are leading the way towards a polio-free future in the African Region. [Accompanying image]
  • Thanks, @GatesFoundation! @ChrisJElias proudly holds his commitment today #WorldPolioDay. We thank him and the foundation for their support to #MakePolioHistory. [Accompanying image]

Our featured tweets:

  • 46% of countries in the African Region reported #polio cases in the past year. This #WorldPolioDay, let´s remember that for as long as there is ongoing transmission, all countries in Africa and globally shall remain vulnerable. [IMAGE]
  • @WHOAFRO is supporting countries in Africa to respond to #polio outbreaks. 54 supplementary immunization activities (SIAs) were conducted in the last 12 months, with over 122 M children vaccinated with at least one dose of polio vaccine. #VaccinesWork. [IMAGE]
  • This #WorldPolioDay, @WHOAFRO congratulates countries in Africa for strifing to reach high-quality surveillance for early #polio alerts. The region achieved 90% stool adequacy rate in 2022 & over 241k surveillance visits were documented w. @WHOAFRO technologies. [IMAGE]
  • Africa is stepping up access to high-quality laboratory data for polio eradication! This #WorldPolioDay, @WHOAFRO continues to train polio lab data managers & health professionals to generate high quality lab datasets, vital in genetic sequencing & direct detection of #polio. [IMAGE]
  • This #WorldPolioDay, @WHO acknowledges countries for expanding the use of Geographic Information Systems in Africa, essential in the fight against #polio & beyond. With @WHOAFRO support, we must continue expanding the scope of such health innovations to improve people's health. IMAGE]

Our heroes:

Our explainers

  • What is polio? This #WorldPolioDay, let´s learn about the symptoms of this disease and how it´s transmitted. Watch the explainer below. #MakePolioHistory
  • Can #polio also affect adults? Yes. It spreads through oral-fecal contact with the virus & can lead to paralysis & even death. Unvaccinated people are at risk. This #WorldPolioDay, watch how countries are responding to this risk: #MakePolioHistory
  • Are the vaccines against #polio safe? Yes. This #WorldPolioDay, let's learn about the vaccines against this virus. Watch the explainer below. #MakePolioHistory
  • Why do we need to vaccinate children against #polio? This #WorldPolioDay, let's remember that polio has no cure, but we can prevent it with vaccines. #MakePolioHistory
  • What is the novel oral polio vaccine type 2 (nOPV2)? This #WorldPolioDay, let's learn about #polio and how vaccines can prevent it. Watch the explainer below. #MakePolioHistory

More information:

World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa

Cité du Djoué, P.O.Box 06 Brazzaville Republic of Congo