Scaling up public health interventions: case study of the polio immunization program in Indonesia

Cintyamena U., Azizatunnisa’ L., Ahmad R.A., Mahendradhata Y.

Center for Tropical Medicine, Faculty Medicine, Public Health, and Nursing, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia; Department of Health Behavior, Environment, and Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Public Health and Nursing, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia; Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Population Health, Faculty of Medicine, Public Health and Nursing, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia; Department of Health Policy and Management, Faculty of Medicine, Public Health and Nursing, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia


Background: The scaling up of public health interventions has received greater attention in recent years; however, there remains paucity of systematic investigations of the scaling up processes. We aim to investigate the overall process, actors and contexts of polio immunization scaling up in Indonesia from 1988 until 2018. Methods: A mixed method study with sequential explanatory design was conducted. We carried out a quantitative survey of 323 actors involved in the polio program at national and sub-national levels, followed by Key Informant Interviews (KII)s. Document review was also carried out to construct a timeline of the polio eradication program with milestones. We carried out descriptive statistical analysis of quantitative data and thematic analysis of qualitative data. Results: The scaling up of polio immunization in Indonesia started as a vertical expansion approach led by the Ministry of Health within a centralized health system. The coverage of immunization increased dramatically from 5% in the earlier 80s to 67.5% in 1987; incremental increases followed until achieving Universal Child Immunization (UCI) in 1990 and subsequently 95% coverage in 1995. Engagement of stakeholders and funding made the scaling up of polio immunization a priority. There was also substantial multisector involvement, including institutions and communities. Local area monitoring (LAM) and integrated health posts (Posyandu) were key to the polio immunization implementation strategy. Challenges for scaling up during this centralized period included cold chain infrastructure and limited experience in carrying out mass campaigns. Scaling up during the decentralized era was slower due to expansion in the number of provinces and districts. Moreover, there were challenges such as the negative perception of immunization side-effects, staff turnover, and the unsmooth transition of centralization towards decentralization. Conclusion: Vertical scaling up of polio immunization program intervention was successful during the centralized era, with involvement of the president as a role model and the engine of multi sector actors. Posyandu (integrated health posts) played an important role, yet its revitalization after the reform-decentralization era has not been optimum. © 2021, The Author(s).

Coverage; Immunization; Indonesia; Polio; Public health intervention; Scaling up


BMC Public Health

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd

Volume 21, Issue 1, Art No 614, Page – , Page Count

Journal Link:

doi: 10.1186/s12889-021-10647-6

Issn: 14712458

Type: All Open Access, Gold, Green


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