Nigeria gets global praise for stopping polio
• WHO urges continued immunisation of children
• Lagos targets four million kids for exercise
NIGERIA was the cynosure of global attention at the weekend when the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized the country for excellent performance in interrupting the transmission of the wild polio virus in the country.
Nigeria has gone a year and half without polio and is expected to be certified polio-free next year if it continued with the trend.
The award, which was conferred on the country at the African Ministers Conference on Immunization concluded at the weekend in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was received by a high level Nigerian delegation headed by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole.
In attendance at the ceremony were the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado Muhammad, and leading international and local civil society organization and development partners in the health sector and other Ministers and stakeholders from Africa and beyond.
Meanwhile, as the National Immunization Plus Days (NIPDs) enters day three in Lagos today, Lagos State Government yesterday appealed to resident to make their wards that are not more than five years available for immunisation.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Primary Healthcare, Dr. Femi Onanuga, urged parents and care givers to ensure that their children and wards are taken to the primary health care clinics to receive vaccine and all other scheduled immunizations to protect them against the preventable killer diseases.
The Expert Review Committee on Polio Eradication in Nigeria has recommended two rounds of NIPDs in February and March 2016, targeted at all children under the age of five years.
WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, described Nigeria as sterling example of how polio eradication infrastructure could be deployed to strengthen public health, citing the Ebola containment efforts as one of such.
Moeti noted however, that the job was not yet finished for the world, as two more countries were still burdened by Polio, calling for continuous immunization of children in Nigeria and other countries.
Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado Muhammad, described the award as great motivation for Nigerian’s vaccinators and other stakeholders.
Ado, told The Guardian that the two remaining polio endemic countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan were already visiting Nigeria to compare notes, and learn from the Nigerian example.
He said: “First, let me appreciate Nigerians and also the media for the support that we have received. Today makes me very fulfilled to be a Nigerian and as the team leader that led Nigeria’s efforts in ensuring that we kicked polio out of the country.