by Heather Monnet, External relations officer and gender focal point for polio eradication, World Health Organization
How do issues surrounding gender create barriers to polio eradication? 
Our ultimate objective is to reach every last child with a polio vaccine. The role of the mother and father in reaching those children is very important, and we must understand the dynamics between them in order to achieve our goal. For example, a mother may want to have her child vaccinated, but that would require her to spend a day walking to a health center or market — and she might not be able to do that unless she gets permission from her husband. Or if her child falls ill and experiences paralysis in the arm or leg, the mother might have to seek permission from her husband to take the child to the health center. There could be a delay of several days that would affect our ability to take stool samples and determine whether that child has polio or not.
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