OUR WORK sanofi (wpd)

Polio: So close to eradication and complacency.

The world is tantalizingly close to no child ever again being paralyzed by polio, but in any race, the last few hundred meters are the hardest. The challenge is to keep donors, policymakers and stakeholders focused until polio is gone for good while simultaneously asking them to plan to make sure that this ancient scourge can never make a comeback.


Generate press and social media interest in a disease that has almost disappeared from both the world and the living memories of most people in advanced economies.




specialist journalists and bloggers attended four linked live events in Karachi, Nairobi, Paris, Yaoundé


countries covered the story

The Work

Polio threatens everyone: one projection is that were polio control ever abandoned, there would be 200,000 cases annually around the world within five years. So, we needed to include journalists from countries at immediate risk and those from countries which feel safer but should, nonetheless, fund the fight against polio. We also needed to include WHO experts from Geneva, those managing the fight on the frontlines of eradication in Afghanistan and Pakistan and vaccine production experts working for our client in Paris. The old-fashioned solution of one physical event would have been out of reach.

We organised a completely online event including live speakers from Geneva, Islamabad and Paris and pre-recorded videos from Kabul and Pakistan’s polio-endemic regions. About 200 journalists joined just the online event. Journalists were invited to in-person events in Karachi, Nairobi, Paris, and Yaoundé. At each, a local expert talked about polio control in each region, answered questions and did print and broadcast interviews. Each was also a focus for social media.