This image was created in October, 2014, by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Epidemiologist, Mary Alleman, M.P.H., Ph.D., during an outbreak of wild poliovirus in the Central African nation of Cameroon, in the city of Ebolowa, in the South Region of Cameroon. The photograph depicts the screen of a mobile telephone, which displayed a French SMS-based “ALERTESANTE”, or in English, “Health Alert”, message, which was produced through a collaborative effort made by polio eradication partners in Cameroon. This was one of the entries in the 2015 CDC Connects, Public Health in Action Photo Contest.
The message reads, “Continuons la vaccination de nos enfants de 0 à 5 ans. Pour plus de protection, revaccinons-les contra la poliomyélite du 18 au 21 septembre. C’est gratuity!” MINSANTE/OMS/ORANGE 11:39”, which when translated into English reads, “Let’s continue to vaccinate our children aged 0 to 5 years. For more protection, have them vaccinated for polio another time from 18-21 September. It’s free!”. This message was received on the phone of a colleague during Dr. Alleman’s technical assistance mission for polio in the region.
In 2013 and 2014, Cameroon had an outbreak of wild poliovirus. One epidemiologic aspect of a poliovirus outbreak response, is to conduct polio vaccination campaigns with high coverage of the target population. Various mass communication strategies are used to inform the population in advance of the campaigns, like the SMS-text message depicted here.